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France Sending Additional Troops to C.A.R.

  • VOA News

French soldiers search a house used as an armed cache in the Christian sector of PK12, the last checkpoint at the exit of the town, Bangui, Central African Republic, Feb. 11, 2014.
France says it will send an additional 400 troops to help fight escalating violence in the Central African Republic.
A statement from the office of President Francois Hollande also calls on the European Union to speed up deployment of a promised 500 troops to the troubled country.
Human rights groups have warned of "ethnic cleansing" in the C.A.R., amid reports that militias known as anti-Balaka are killing Muslims and chasing them from their homes and neighborhoods.
On Friday, thousands of Muslims tried to flee Bangui in a long convoy, but were turned back by international peacekeepers who feared it would be attacked traveling through volatile parts of the capital, Bangui.
Speaking in New York Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the fabric of society is being ripped apart in the C.A.R., and said the international community must act decisively to, in his words, prevent the worst.
The new troops will boost France's contingent in the C.A.R. to about 2,000. The French troops are working alongside about 5,000 African troops to stem violence in the capital, Bangui.
The troops have been unable to halt fighting in other towns. On Thursday, Doctors Without Borders reported that about 1,000 Muslims were trapped and being threatened by militiamen in the western town of Carnot.
The C.A.R. descended into chaos after mainly Muslim Seleka rebels overthrew the president last March and went on a nationwide rampage of killing and looting. The Christian and animist anti-Balaka groups that sprung up in response have gone on the offensive, forcing Seleka to retreat.
Ban said that on Tuesday he would present recommendations to the U.N. Security Council for "containing and then ending" the C.A.R. crisis.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.