French Troops Arrive In CAR As Seleka Rebels Withdraw

More than 200 new French troops have arrived in the Central African Republic (CAR) to join an African-led stabilization force in the country.
A French army vehicle patrols in Bangui, the Central African Republic, November 27, 2013.
A French army vehicle patrols in Bangui, the Central African Republic, November 27, 2013.

The soldiers along with combat vehicles and logistics equipment reached CAR through neighboring Cameroon on Sunday.

The troops joined a 450-stong French force.

Paris says it is planning to send around a thousand more troops to the country in the future.

The new deployment came after the United Nations Security Council this week voted on a resolution drafted by France to expand the regional African military mission in CAR.

Paris is scheduled to host a ‘mini-summit’ on CAR on Saturday, to be attended by some 40 African leaders, including Central African Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

French military officials say Antonov 124 cargo planes will take materiel necessary for the French force in CAR within the next few days.

The officials said that if needed, the force can also protect French nationals.

France is also looking for other European nations to support its mission in its former colony.

According to reports, anti-government Seleka rebels withdrew from the capital, Bangui, before the arrival of the new French troops.

The Central African Republic has been unstable since independence from France in 1960. It plunged into chaos in March after Seleka rebels overthrew the government.

The Seleka rebels, who launched an offensive against the government in December 2012 and finally ousted then President Francois Bozize in March, have been accused of killing, looting, and raping across the country.

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