News / Africa

Chad Withdrawing From AU Mission in CAR

FILE - A Chad soldier holds his weapon in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 9. 2013.
FILE - A Chad soldier holds his weapon in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 9. 2013.
VOA News
Chad is withdrawing its forces from the African peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic.

A statement Thursday from Chad's minister of foreign affairs Moussa Faki Mahamat did not make clear whether Chadian troops will entirely leave the C.A.R.

Chad has about 850 troops there as part of MISCA, the African Union peacekeeping mission responsible for protecting civilians and disarming militia groups.

VOA's Anne Look, who is in the capital Bangui, says Chadian government officials believe their troops are being mistreated in the C.A.R.

“They say it is due to repeated accusations, what they call a useless and malicious campaign against them here in the C.A.R., essentially blaming them for everything going wrong here," she said.

Tens of thousands of C.A.R. Muslims have fled their homes and communities in recent months in fear of the largely Christian anti-balaka militias, with many fleeing to neighboring countries.

Look reports some C.A.R. residents have accused Chadian soldiers of siding with the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels, who overthrew the president last year and then went on a nationwide rampage.

"They were here as part of the initial regional force over a year ago, that was trying to prevent Seleka from taking the capital," she said. "They were accused of complicity then with Seleka, of essentially letting them take over the country. Ever since, they have been accused of favoring Muslims, of being complicit with Seleka."

Witnesses say that on Saturday, Chadian MISCA troops fired on civilians in the PK12 neighborhood of the capital, Bangui, and killed at least eight people. PK12 is one of the neighborhoods where the anti-balaka have been attacking Muslims.

United Nations officials have called for an urgent international response to the crisis in the C.A.R. to prevent the conflict from destabilizing the region.

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