1,600 French troops in CAR, no fresh clashes: army

8th December 2013, Comments 0 comments

About 1,600 French troops have deployed as planned in the Central African Republic, the army confirmed on Sunday, adding that no fresh clashes had occurred since Thursday.

General staff spokesman Colonel Gilles Jaron said the troops were on the ground, with most in the capital Bangui and a few units deployed elsewhere.

He said French troops had boosted patrols in Bangui and there was some "tension" with armed groups but that no new clashes had broken out.

The only reported fighting so far involving French troops in CAR was near the airport in Bangui on Thursday, when they killed four armed men on a pick-up truck who had fired in the direction of civilians and French soldiers.

A few final elements were expected to arrive in CAR later Sunday to complete the deployment, Jaron said without providing details.

President Francois Hollande announced on Saturday he was boosting the UN-mandated French force in the country to 1,600 soldiers.

The French soldiers are acting in support of a 2,500-strong African force that is seeking to restore order in CAR after a March coup sparked civil strife and sectarian violence.

© 2013 AFP

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