News / Africa

France Sending More Troops to Central African Republic

FILE - Child soldiers of the Seleka coalition sits on a pickup truck near the Presidential palace in Bangui, March 25, 2013.
FILE - Child soldiers of the Seleka coalition sits on a pickup truck near the Presidential palace in Bangui, March 25, 2013.
VOA News
France has announced plans to boost its military presence in the Central African Republic to about 1,000 troops in a bid to support efforts to end the escalating unrest in the former French colony.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters Tuesday that France hoped to accomplish several goals during the mission.
"In this operation, what are we aiming for? First, to assist an abominable humanitarian situation, I mean really abominable. Then, restore security in a country that is imploding. Thirdly, allow a political transition, because there are transitional authorities, and fourthly, at some point, allow a kick start of the economy. France is faithful to its mission, which supports Africa and complies with international equality; it will work for peace," said Fabius.
Central African Republic

  • Won independence from France in 1960
  • Population: Estimated 5.1 million
  • Religion: Mix of Christian, Muslim, indigenous beliefs
  • Languages: French, Sangho
  • Economy largely based on agriculture, mining, logging
  • GDP, per capita income among lowest in world
The additional troops would be deployed for about six months. France currently has about 400 soldiers based in the C.A.R.'s capital, Bangui.
Meanwhile, the regional group ECCAS (Economic Community of Central African States) plans to transition its mission in C.A.R. to an African Union-led mission of about 3,600 troops known as MISCA next month.
In mid-December, the African Union will take over the responsibilities of protecting civilians and restoring the central government's authority. 
The situation in the Central African Republic has been chaotic since March, when rebels overthrew President Francois Bozize. The transitional government has not been able to control the former rebels or keep Muslim and Christian groups from fighting each other.
Human rights and relief organizations have been expressing growing concern about the unrest.
In a Tuesday statement, Doctors Without Borders said the C.A.R.'s "massive humanitarian crisis" had grown more severe as a result of fighting and threats against civilians.
Situation in the Central African Republic

  • Seleka rebel alliance toppled President Francois Bozize in March
  • New government cannot control rebel soldiers or country
  • Aid groups, U.N. report widespread looting, rapes, lawlessness
  • Worries over terrorist infiltration, Christian-Muslim fighting
  • U.N. chief Ban warns CAR lacks national authority
  • France, African Union to send extra troops
In an interview with VOA, Amnesty International government relations managing director Adotei Akwei said violence has prompted thousands of people to flee from their homes.
"You have attacks against civilians. You have the gender-based violence against women, the recruitment of child soldiers and you also have the displacement of well over 400,000 people," said Akwei.
The Central African Republic has endured a long series of coups and rebellions since gaining independence from France in 1960.

You May Like

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs