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France Sending Hundreds More Troops to CAR



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 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."



The additional troops would be deployed for about six months.

France currently has about 400 soldiers based in the CAR's capital, Bangui.

Meanwhile, the regional group ECCAS plans to transition its mission in CAR 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 CAR's "massive humanitarian crisis" had grown more severe as a result of fighting and threats against civilians.

In a VOA interview , 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."



The Central African Republic has endured a long series of coups and rebellions since gaining independence from France in 1960.

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