Libreville - Reinforcements have begun arriving for an
African peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic but the planned 3 600-strong
force will not be fully deployed before 2014, an official involved in talks on
the crisis said.
The land-locked, mineral-rich nation has slipped into chaos
since northern rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in March. The UN officials
and rights groups say both sides may have committed war crimes in the violence.
Former colonial power France has called on world powers to
take action to prevent the country following Somalia's path to decades of
lawlessness and efforts are focusing on beefing up a 1 100-strong African force
that has long been deployed.
"The force will reach 2 000 soldiers [in September] and
hit 3 600 by January 2014," an official who took part in regional meetings
hosted by Gabon told Reuters on Tuesday.
Further meetings are due to take place in Gabon later this
week to decide on the leadership and make up of the force.
Moussa Fati Mahamat, Chad's foreign minister, said the
force, to be known as MISCA, will have an African Union mandate to carry out
more robust operations than the existing mission operated under Central Africa's
CEEAC regional bloc.
Michel Djotodia, who swept to power at the head of the
rebellion, was officially sworn in as the country's president last month but he
has failed to contain waves of looting and killing by gunmen.
Djotodia last week sacked the head of the armed forces after
days of clashes with fighters loyal to Bozize killed 100 people.
CAR is rich in gold, diamonds and uranium but decades of
instability and the spillover from conflicts in its larger neighbours have left
the nation's 4.5 million people mired in cycles of crises.