French defence minister sees no need for more troops in C. Africa

7th January 2014, Comments 0 comments

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Tuesday there is currently no need to send reinforcements to Central Africa, where it has 1,600 deployed troops to help defuse sectarian violence.

"Given the current state of things, there are no particular reasons to send reinforcements" to Bangui, Le Drian said while visiting an airbase in southern France.

He said the situation regarding troop needs would become clearer when the African force gets up to full strength next month.

Paris deployed the troops to the former French colony last month to help an African force on a UN-mandated mission to try to restore some order to the country plagued by violence between Christian militias and ex-rebels who installed the country's first Muslim leader in a coup in March.

The French deployment, which is focusing on disarming both the ex-rebel Seleka members -- mostly Muslims -- and the Christian vigilantes, has lost two soldiers in one clash early December.

Deadly sectarian violence has forced people to flee their homes, with more than 100,000 of them now in a camp close to Bangui's airport where the French military is based.

© 2014 AFP

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