News / Europe

French Troops Cheered on Arrival in CAR Capital

A French army patrol dismounts at the scene of sectarian violence in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 7, 2013.
A French army patrol dismounts at the scene of sectarian violence in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 7, 2013.
VOA News
French troops received a triumphant welcome Saturday on the streets of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, as warplanes and helicopters swooped low over the embattled city and residents cheered.
 
The deployment came as French President Francois Hollande said French reinforcements to a United Nations-mandated force would reach 1,600 by the end of the day — 400 more than originally planned.
 
Hollande, speaking in Paris, said the French force had been ordered to disarm "all militias and armed groups terrorizing the population" in the city, where relief workers have collected hundreds of corpses since Thursday.
 
Residents were quoted as saying an earlier order by CAR President Michel Djotodia for all armed groups to withdraw from street fighting went largely unheeded. Djotodia also urged civil servants and traders in the city to return to work and said "African and French forces will assure the protection of all."
 
Separately, the French president questioned the effectiveness of the Djotodia government, telling France 24 television "you can't leave a president in power who hasn't managed to change anything or who has let things get worse."
 
Hollande also called for elections in the CAR by 2015, and said French forces will remain in the former French colony "as long as necessary."
 
The impoverished CAR spiraled into chaos and violence after the rebel Seleka movement seized power in March, ousting President Francois Bozize.
 
President Djotodia's weak interim government has been unable to exert control over mostly Muslim ex-Seleka fighters, who are blamed for a surge in killings and other crimes. However, analysts say the mostly Christian armed opposition groups known as anti-balaka — balaka means machete — also have contributed to the violence.
 
The group Doctors Without Borders says medical facilities in Bangui have been overloaded with wounded patients. The organization said many of the patients had been shot or injured in machete or knife attacks.

The CAR has endured decades of instability since winning independence from France in 1960.

On Thursday,  the U.N. Security Council authorized France to boost its troop presence in the former French colony.

Also, an African troop contingent known as MISCA is expanding its forces from 2,500 to 3,600 troops.

On Friday, the CAR government ordered all CAR security forces to "return to their barracks" in Bangui, leaving only French and MISCA forces to patrol the city.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Daniel Brochardé from: Libreville
December 08, 2013 8:41 PM
The CAR should be annexed by France forcefully. Then Mali, Mauritania and Chad. So now the africans shall behave orderly under EU administration.

by: Dillo82 from: Conakry
December 08, 2013 2:31 AM
The situation in central concern all africans . This IS resoult of unresponsalite of african leaders. Africa much avoid war because till now it remain the porest continent.

by: WorkingMan from: New Orleans, LA
December 07, 2013 6:21 PM
Why are French troops being put at risk, French resources being squandered and French internal concerned being ignored to save these people from killing each other? These are the same people whose recent ancestors basically tossed the French out only a few decades ago.

Let them slug it out among themselves, when they get tired of killing each other they'll settle back down into their sullen monotony of eking out a living as they do.

What gratitude will the French people get even for this exercise in futility? More unwanted, un-needed immigrants at best. Let them sort their own problems out.
In Response

by: andy from: swiss
December 08, 2013 9:13 AM
France has a pretty big army and this is a good exercise for them, I know a few French soldiers and they are happy to go.

It's not Iraq, they get cheered as saviors when they get there, the population is on their side and they all speak french (remember its an ex colony) there's a sort of kinship.

Europe has a complicated past. We're also trying to atone for our sins with these people, CAR is home to waring tribes becasue of French drawn borders.
In Response

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
December 08, 2013 12:12 AM
French forces just came there only to protect their own interests not to safe Africans from itself.
French government by nature is egotistical, history have shown that they are indifferent to the well-being of others especially black people. French should not expect any gratitude from their self-centred actions in Africa.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs