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article imageFrance increases troops to halt Central African Republic violence

By Abdul Kuddus     Dec 7, 2013 in World
Bangui - The spiralling wave of massacres and reprisal attacks in former French colony of Central African Republic (CAR) has forced France to increase its troop presence under a UN effort to restore law and order.
“France will increase its troop deployment in Central African Republic to 1,600 soldiers by Saturday evening, French President Francois Hollande said, as it steps up efforts to curb a wave of violence in its former colony,” Christian Science Monitor reported.
The French troops will extend support to an already existing African Union peacekeeping force, MISCA, which has failed to prevent the Central African Republic’s descent into chaos.
Central African Republic, reportedly one of the world’s poorest countries, has remained devastated by decades of military coups and rebellions.
The impoverished nation plunged into further chaos and bloodshed after the rebel Seleka faction ousted President Francois Bozize in March and seized power in Bangui.
Michel Djotodia, leader of the Seleka ex-rebel alliance, is CAR's interim president, but he has failed to exert control over his disbanded loose band of fighters who are blamed for the spiralling violence and bloodshed in Bangui.
The largely Muslim militia is pitted against a formidable Christian movement known as anti-Balaka in Bangui and the northern city of Bossangoa.
The armed Christian militia allegedly gets support from former members of the national army loyal to ousted President Francois Bozize.
Reportedly France's mission in CAR is to restore security and to create an atmosphere conducive for holding elections, in the same way that it helped Mali return to democracy.
A UN resolution gave the French-backed African force a 12-month mandate to restore order in CAR.
Meanwhile wave of massacres and reprisal attacks between Muslim and Christian militias has claimed at least 300 lives in Capital Bangui, according to reports.
“The local Red Cross says it has gathered more than 280 bodies in recent days, although the perilous security had made it impossible to access some of the hardest-hit neighbourhoods,” the Washington Post reported .
Media outlets reported waves of horrors, with security forces and militia gangs razing villages, carrying out public execution-style killings and perpetrating widespread rapes.
While majority of the displaced in capital Bangui are Christians, media outlets reported vicious reprisals attacks on Muslim civilians in other parts of the country. At least a dozen Muslim women and children were reportedly slain just outside the capital in an attack, allegedly carried by Christian militias.
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