France to end military intervention in CAR in October: Hollande
Iran Press TV
Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:26PM
French President Francois Hollande says his country will end its military intervention in the Central African Republic (CAR) in October.
"Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will go to the Central African Republic next October to officially declare the end of Operation Sangaris," Hollande said at a reception at the French Defense Ministry on Wednesday.
France launched a military operation dubbed Operation Sangaris in the CAR in December 2013 in what it claimed aimed to end the bloody violence in the African country.
The Central African Republic is one of several countries where the French army is engaged.
The former colonial power had around 2,500 troops deployed as part of its military operation at its peak, but it progressively wound down its forces, which were reduced to 350 personnel in June.
The announcement comes as France has been embroiled in charges of child sex abuses by foreign troops in the Central African Republic.
The United Nations has found out several cases of child abuse by its peacekeepers as well as troops from France in the African country.
The UN has peacekeeping forces known as MINUSCA, which is made up of more than 12,000 foreign police and soldiers, as well as more than 500 foreign civilian staff in the conflict-ridden country.
In April, the world body announced that it had documented 108 new cases of sexual abuse committed by French troops mostly against minors, describing them as "sickening" and urging investigations that "leave no stone unturned."
The CAR, one of the world's poorest countries, plunged into turmoil in late 2013, when Christian armed groups engaged in clashes with Muslims.
According to the latest UN estimates, the conflict in the CAR has internally displaced 399,000 people and forced more than 460,000 to flee to neighboring countries.
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