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EU plans air bridge for CAR

09 December 2013, 06:45

Brussels - The European Union is dispatching a humanitarian aid plane to Cameroon to set up a daily air bridge with the Central African Republic (CAR), the bloc's executive said on Sunday as the country struggles to restore law and order.

"In recent days, we have heard horrific stories of massacres from CAR," EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said.

"The needs will remain enormous for some time."

The CRJ 200 aircraft, run by the EU's humanitarian air service, can carry up to 50 passengers or 5 tons of cargo, according to the European Commission. It is to fly daily to the capital of the Central African Republic, Bangui, with humanitarian goods and personnel.

The plane is expected to arrive in the Cameroonian city of Douala Monday. The EU is also sending more humanitarian experts to Bangui.

The Central African Republic has been plunged into a humanitarian crisis since the Muslim Seleka coalition rose up against the government in December and overthrew then-president Francois Bozize, a Christian, in March.

Despite the support of African Union peacekeepers, transitional president Michel Djotodia has been struggling to stabilise the country.

About 400 000 of its 4.5 million people have been displaced and many civilians killed, especially in the country's north-west.

African Union and French forces have been deployed under a UN mandate to end the sectarian violence.

Georgieva called on the international community to also support the Central African Republic with humanitarian aid.

"I appeal to international donors to be compassionate and generous for a crisis which remained forgotten far too long," she said.



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