African Military Chiefs Agree To Increase Peacekeepers In CAR

African military chiefs have agreed to increase the number of regional peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) to 2,000.

Military chiefs from the member states of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) made the decision at a meeting in the Gabonese capital of Libreville on Friday.

“It is essential today to modify the mandate of the regional force deployed to Central African Republic… It must be reoriented towards maintaining order and securing the election process,” General Guy-Pierre Garcia from Republic of Congo said at a press conference.

The CAR peacekeeping force, known as the Multinational Force of Central Africa (FOMAC), currently numbers 730 soldiers.

“The size of this force will be increased to 2,000 men,” Garcia stated.

On Saturday, a CAR military official said armed men attacked several houses in the northeast of the African country, and killed six people on May 17.

“The assailants arrived in several cars and fired shots as they entered the town, so residents fled,” the official said in Bouca, 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of the CAR capital of Bangui.

“Then they headed to the houses and began looting. Six bodies were found after the attack,” the official added.

Several people were also wounded in the attack, which was not immediately confirmed by other official sources.

On January 11, former CAR President Francois Bozizé and representatives of the Seleka rebels signed an agreement in Libreville, Gabon, after three days of negotiations brokered by regional neighbors.

However, the deal fell through, and Djotodia, leading thousands of Seleka rebels, captured Bangui and proclaimed himself president after seizing power from Bozizé on March 24.

The Seleka fighters launched an offensive against the CAR government in December 2012.

There are many mineral resources, including gold and diamonds, in the Central African Republic. However, the country is extremely poor and has faced a series of rebellions and coups since it gained independence in 1960.

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