CAR intervention 'necessary,' Hollande says

Dec. 11, 2013 at 12:21 PM
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BANGUI, Central African Republic, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- French President Francois Hollande said military action in the Central African Republic was a necessary step to prevent further carnage in the former colony.

The U.N. Security Council authorized a French military intervention into CAR to support an African Union peacekeeping mission. Two French soldiers died this week as a result of wounds suffered during a battle with rebel forces in Bangui, the capital of the war-torn former French colony.

Holland arrived Tuesday in CAR. He was quoted by French television channel France 24 as saying Wednesday the Frenchmen died for a noble cause.

"We knew it was going to be a dangerous mission," he said. "But it is necessary to prevent further carnage."

The rebel Seleka coalition, now formally disbanded, toppled the government in March. The conflict is on the verge of genocide as Christian militias take up arms against former Seleka rebels, who are predominately Muslim.

France 24 reports more than 400 people were killed in recent violence in an around Bangui.

Hollande is scheduled to meet this week with interim President Michel Djotodia, himself a former Seleka commander.

France has around 1,600 troops deployed to CAR to support an AU force that's 2,500 members strong.

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