November 25, 2013
France is ready to send 800 extra troops to reinforce its presence in
Central African Republic, the leader of the strife-torn nation said
Monday after talks in Paris with France's foreign minister.
Nicolas Tiangaye told AFP that Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius "had
spoken of sending 800 men" in addition to the 410 already in the
"There is general insecurity... serious war crimes and crimes against
humanity are being committed in Central African Republic," said
A coup by the Seleka rebel coalition in March that toppled president
Francois Bozize has unleashed chaos in the large country of 4.5 million,
including sectarian bloodshed between Muslims and Christians.
The spiralling violence in France's former colony has sparked
international alarm and last week French President Francois Hollande
hinted at a "sensible" increase in troops.
"France has the military, financial and diplomatic means for efficient intervention," said Tiangaye.
However, France's foreign ministry would not confirm the plan.
Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said only that France's priority was
the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution, and that its support
would be announced only after consultations with its "partners".
The UN Security Council plans to vote next month on a resolution that
would allow Central African Republic's neighbours, the African Union
and France, to intervene.
The United Nations, United States and France have all recently warned that the country could be headed for genocide.
The unrest has displaced almost 400,000 of the country's estimated
4.6 million people, left 2.3 million in need of assistance and some 1.1
million scrambling to find food, according to the latest UN figures
French troops would support forces from the African Union-mandated
International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA)
there, Tiangaye said.
"All that will be done towards mid-December, after the Security Council vote," he said.
The bulk of MISCA, which should total some 3,600 men at full
strength, is provided by Chad, with troops from Gabon, Cameroon, the
Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea.