News / Africa

France's Hollande Visits CAR After 2 French Soldiers Killed

French President Francois Hollande, left,  addresses the troops during a stopover from South Africa in Bangui, CAR, Dec. 10, 2013.
French President Francois Hollande, left, addresses the troops during a stopover from South Africa in Bangui, CAR, Dec. 10, 2013.
VOA News
French President Francois Hollande arrived in the Central African Republic Tuesday, just hours after two French soldiers were killed in overnight fighting.
 
The deaths were France’s first casualties since it sent more troops to help end months of instability in the African country.

Hollande flew to the capital, Bangui, from South Africa, where he attended a memorial service Tuesday for former South African president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

The French news agency reports Hollande took a few moments to bow before the coffins of the two soldiers, shortly after arriving in Bangui.
 
French defense officials say gunmen fatally shot the two soldiers, who were taking part in an operation to disarm militants near the airport in Bangui.

Some 1,600 French troops are working with African forces as part of a United Nations-mandated effort to restore security and protect civilians in the CAR.
 
France’s ambassador to the U.N., Gerard Araud, told reporters Tuesday the mission “will be difficult,” but France is not giving up.
 
"We have always been aware that it will be a difficult mission, especially because we want, of course, to disarm all the armed groups. That’s the first part. So it’s a very bloody incident, and of course we are moved by what happened to our soldiers. But we are determined to move forward," said Araud.

  • A man takes part in looting a mosque in Fouh district in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 10, 2013.
  • Christians loot a mosque in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 10, 2013.
  • A Christian mob attacks a mosque in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 10, 2013.
  • Chadian troops with FOMAC reload their weapons as they leave the area next to the airport in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 10, 2013.
  • French troops detain a suspected Seleka officer, preventing Christian mobs from lynching him near the airport in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 9, 2013.
  • A suspected member of a Christian militia lays wounded by machete blows in the Kokoro neighborhood of Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 9, 2013.

Tension between the country's Muslims and Christians appears to have escalated in recent days.

In a VOA interview, Amnesty International's Joanne Mariner said an angry mob in Bangui torched a mosque on Tuesday.

"They burned part of it, including burning down the home of the imam, and they were really dismantling it stone-by-stone," she said. "They were also yelling anti-Muslim slogans, making the sign of cutting somebody's throat and calling for the president to step down."

President Barack Obama issued a recorded message to the people of the CAR, urging them to remain calm in the midst of the rising sectarian violence, which has caused hundreds of deaths in the past week. He called on them to "choose a different path."

"Respected leaders in your communities, Muslim and Christian, are calling for calm and peace," he said. "I call on the transitional government to join these voices and to arrest those who are committing crimes. Individuals who are engaging in violence must be held accountable in accordance with the law."
 
The Associated Press news agency quotes aid officials as saying the death toll in the CAR has reached more than 500.

A Pentagon spokesman said Monday the United States would transport African Union peacekeeping troops to the country from neighboring Burundi.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel agreed to the move after the French defense minister asked for the airlift assistance.

The instability in the impoverished country began in March, when the rebel Seleka movement ousted President Francois Bozize, but then disintegrated.

Witnesses have reported widespread looting and lawlessness, with the interim government unable to restore order.

Recent weeks have seen rising clashes between the mostly Muslim ex-rebels and mostly Christian armed groups known as anti-balaka.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid