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Iran Press TV

France sends warplanes to Central African Republic as rebels attack another city

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 09 January 2021 6:39 PM

France has dispatched warplanes to fly over the Central African Republic (CAR) in support of the government troops on the ground, for the first time since violence hit the nation following the disputed December election.

President Emmanuel Macron's office said in a statement on Saturday that Paris had received a request from President Faustin-Archange Touadera and that the dispatch has been made with the permission of a UN peacekeeping mission there.

On Friday, Macron once again denounced attempts by armed groups "and certain political leaders" to disrupt the electoral process.

Six armed groups, controlling two-thirds of the country altogether, announced an alliance against the central government in November, ahead of the presidential election.

After the election in December, which declared Touadera the winner with almost 54 percent of the votes, fighting continued in towns nationwide.

So far, the United Nations peacekeepers, CAR's armed forces and hundreds of troops from Russia and Rwanda have managed to keep the rebels away from the capital.

On Saturday, the rebels launched another attack on government troops in the western city of Bouar, UN peacekeepers said.

The city, which came under attack by "armed elements," is the base for the Leclerc camp, the army's headquarters in the western region.

UN peacekeepers, who came to the aid of the government troops had themselves come under fire, said MINUSCA spokesman Abdoulaziz Fall.

The United Nations and Touadera accuse former President Francois Bozize of leading the armed groups to seize the country's fourth largest city briefly before the election.

The African country with a population of 4.7 million, has endured waves of violence since 2013 that has killed thousands of people and forced more than a million from their homes.

The UN refugee agency said on Friday the violence has so far forced over 30,000 people to flee to neighboring countries of Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the Republic of Congo.

Tens of thousands more have been displaced inside the country, the UNHCR said.

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