The European Union (EU) says it seeks to dispatch its forces to the Central African Republic (CAR) by the end of next month, adding that the political turmoil in Ukraine has put off the deployment.
“General Philippe Ponties, who is to lead the EU’s future mission in the CAR, told Radio France International (RFI) on Wednesday that the “objective is to send the complete force by the end of April,” adding, “I think the international situation today in part explains why the process isn’t going as fast as expected.”
The official further stated that two brigades of about 300 soldiers, special forces and police units had been committed to the European Union Force (EUFOR) mission, adding, “The launch still needs logistical support of about 100 soldiers, ranging from medical to transport need.”
“It’s a transition mission that should last six months which would be a bridge between the current situation and a multinational force that should be strengthened by year-end,” according to Ponties.
In February, EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, announced plans by the 28-nation-bloc to send around 1,000 soldiers to the Central African Republic, a former French colony.
Some 2,000 French troops, backed by 6,000-strong African Union force known as MISCA, are currently operating in the CAR, but their deployment has done little to end the ongoing violence in the strife-torn country.
The CAR has been facing deadly unrest since December last year, when Christian militia launched coordinated attacks against the mostly Muslim Seleka group, which toppled the government in March 2013.
Christian militia in the country has been raging violence against Muslims, many of whom have escaped the country to avoid being killed by the militia.