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UN Approves Additional Troops in CAR

  • VOA News

A woman walks past French peacekeeping troops in a street of the capital Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 17, 2014.

A woman walks past French peacekeeping troops in a street of the capital Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 17, 2014.

The U.N. Security Council has approved a resolution to increase the number of European troops in the troubled Central African Republic.

The council approved a plan Tuesday that will allow the European Union to send about 500 troops to the CAR to assist French and African forces already stationed in the country.

The measure also threatens financial sanctions against individuals who may be guilty of human rights violations.

France co-sponsored the resolution. France's U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters the current troop limit in the CAR is too low to contain the unrest.

"The ceiling of 6,000 soldiers of the African Union is considered now too low because frankly the situation is very, very dire and the country is huge," he said. "The secretariat is now thinking that at least 10,000 soldiers are necessary."

EU Ambassador Thomas Mayer-Harting says the additional troops will allow French and African forces to focus more on unrest outside of the capital, Bangui.

"This engagement of the European Union and our military mission there will make it possible for the forces of the African Union and the French forces to move to other parts of the country," he said.

The Security Council resolution expresses "deep concern at the continuing deteriorating security situation in the CAR."

The country descended into unrest after rebels topped President Francois Bozize, last year.

More than 1,000 are feared killed since violence intensified in Bangui in early December. The United Nations estimates that more than 900,000 have been driven from their homes.

Much of the violence has involved the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian militias known as anti-balaka. Many Seleka fighters fled the capital Sunday and Monday.

The country's new Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has appealed for calm. Elections are expected some time next year.

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