Europe to send troops to CAR, France says

Europe to send troops to CAR, France says
France says other European countries are to send troops into Central African Republic to support their mission to disarm rebels. Photo: Sia Kambou/AFP
France will "soon" have military support from other European countries on the ground in strife-torn Central African Republic, the country's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday. But he did not specify which countries would send troops.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced on Tuesday that other European countries would deploy ground troops to the violence-hit Central African Republic, without identifying them.

"We will soon have troops on the ground provided by our European colleagues," he told the lower house National Assembly, days after he decided to seek help from Europe in its former colony, where France has deployed a 1,600-strong force to quell deadly sectarian violence.

In a radio interview on Sunday, Fabius had said that Poland, Britain, Germany, Spain and Belgium were already helping with logistics.

Asked at the time whether some of these five states may go further and send troops to prop up French and African forces already on the ground, he said "two of them are currently considering (this)", without identifying them.

Central Africa has spiralled into chaos since a March coup by the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel group overthrew president Francois Bozize, with deadly violence pitting Muslims against Christians.

Faced with reports of widespread atrocities in Central Africa, France on December 5 decided to deploy its force to prop up an African peacekeeping force already on the ground.

These have since been disarming former Seleka members as well as armed Christian militia. Two French paratroopers have been killed since the start of the operation.

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