Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


EU countries to send troops to CAR

18 December 2013, 07:00

Paris/Bangui - Some European countries will send troops to support a French-African mission to restore order in Central African Republic, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday, as more violence was reported outside the capital Bangui.

France has deployed 1 600 troops to its former colony to prevent worsening violence between Christian militias and largely Muslim Seleka rebels who ousted ex-President Francois Bozize.

Hundreds of people were killed in a week of bloodshed which began on 5 December 5 in Bangui when fighters of both sides went door-to-door murdering civilians. Some victims were lynched or stoned to death, residents said.

At a European Union foreign ministers meeting on Monday, France requested more help from allies to bolster its peacekeeping mission beyond logistical and financial aid.

"We will soon have troops on the ground from our European colleagues," Fabius told parliament in response to a question on a lack of European support in Central African Republic.

Life in Bangui appeared to be returning to normal on Tuesday with children playing soccer and taxis passing less than half an hour before curfew, a Reuters reporter said.

But the UN refugee agency UNHCR said that attacks have continued in the town of Bossangoa, several hundred km north of the capital, where 40 000 are seeking protection in a church.

"We continue to hear of attacks against Christians by former Seleka, with looting, killing and houses being set on fire," a UNHCR spokesperson said on Tuesday.

At least 210 000 people have been displaced by violence in Bangui over the last two weeks, it said, and hundreds have risked their lives by fleeing the country by boat across a branch of the Congo river.

Rights group Amnesty International warned that more troops were urgently needed to protect residents in the capital where it said war crimes had been committed.

"The continuing violence, the extensive destruction of property, and the forced displacement of the population in Bangui are feeding enormous anger, hostility and mistrust," Amnesty's Christian Mukosa said on Tuesday.

The UN World Food Programme has warned that up to a quarter of the mineral-rich nation's 5.2 million population risks going hungry.

"Practical steps"

While European nations including Poland, Britain, Germany, Spain and Belgium have provided various forms of assistance, French troops are intervening alone for the second time this year after ousting Islamist rebels in Mali, another former French colony.

Diplomats said the ground troops involved could come from Belgium and Poland and may be used to relieve French forces who are securing the airport in Bangui.

The French foreign ministry said talks were going on and that Paris hoped the countries concerned would make decisions soon.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Polish Foreign Minister Donald Tusk stopped short of announcing ground troops.

"In CAR's case we will be ready for limited logistical support in terms of aviation," he said. "A transport aircraft and a group of soldiers, who would take care of it, is something that is within our possibilities," he said.

Belgium's defence ministry said on Friday it was sending tactical aircraft for two months for logistical support that would need 35 soldiers as support. A defence ministry official said Belgium had taken no decision to send any soldiers beyond that, denying a report it would provide 150 soldiers.

European heads of state meet in Brussels on Thursday to specifically discuss defence integration.

"During this meeting we want clear practical steps taken operationally, capacity-wise and in industrial aspects," French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told lawmakers.

Support at home for the French intervention has fallen since two French soldiers were killed in a firefight during a patrol in Bangui last week, a poll showed.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...