BANGUI NOVEMBER 1, 2016 (CISA) – France is ending its military mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) after three years of intervention, France’s Defense Minister Jean Yves Le Drian has said.
According to Le Drian, French troops have had “a successful deployment, achieving their aims of ending the fighting, transitioning with the UN peacekeeping mission and ensuring that CAR had peaceful elections,” Reuters reported.
France sent its military troops to CAR in what was known as “Operation Sangaris” to stop mass killing in CAR following a rebellion that ousted former president Francois Bozize in 2013.
The withdrawal of the 2,000 French troops will leave Minusca, the UN mission in the country — which has more than 10,000 troops on the ground — solely in charge of security in CAR.
Some 350 French soldiers will however remain in the country to provide back up to Minusca, said Le Drian.
The end of Operation Sangaris comes even as fresh wave of violence erupted in CAR leaving 25 people dead in two days of violence according to Minusca.
“Clashes between elements of the anti-Balaka and ex-Seleka caused 15 deaths and a number of wounded in the town of Bambari, about 250km north-east of the capital Bangui,” Minusca mission said in a statement on October 29.
Six police officers and four civilians died in an ambush on October 29.
Seleka rebels briefly seized power in March 2013 and deposed President Bozize.
The group was itself then ousted, leading to violent reprisals against the Muslim population by the Christian anti-Balaka militia.
Thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in the CAR since 2013 according to the UN, and more than 12,000 UN peacekeepers are deployed in the country.