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Hollande: French Troops Will Leave Central African Republic in October

  • Reuters

FILE - French President Francois Hollande gives a speech at the French Military base Sangaris Mpoko in Bangui, Central African Republic, May 13, 2016. Hollande announced on June 13, 2016, that France will end a three-year military peacekeeping operation in CAR in Oct.

FILE - French President Francois Hollande gives a speech at the French Military base Sangaris Mpoko in Bangui, Central African Republic, May 13, 2016. Hollande announced on June 13, 2016, that France will end a three-year military peacekeeping operation in CAR in Oct.

France will end a three-year military peacekeeping operation in Central African Republic in October, Francois Hollande has said, although security remains volatile.

The operation was launched in December 2013 to try to end a cycle of tit for tat killing that began when mainly Muslim Seleka fighters toppled the then-president, prompting reprisals by Christian anti-Balaka militias.

The defense ministry says Operation Sangaris currently commands around 350 troops in CAR, down from a peak of 2,000, and supports a 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force.

Hollande announced the operation's end date late on Wednesday. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had announced in January the operation would end this year.

Clashes have continued since President Faustin-Archange Tauadera took power in March in an election intended to draw a line under intercommunal and interreligious violence.

"Next October Jean-Yves Le Drian ... will go to Central African Republic to officially announce the end of operation Sangaris," said Hollande in a speech in Paris.

"I want to state clearly that deciding to intervene is a great responsibility, but knowing when to end an operation is also a major concern," the president added.

"You can't do it too fast, too early, or too late," he said.

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