French troops pour into Central Africa after deadly clashes
Central African Republic (AFP) - French troops received a triumphant welcome as they deployed in strife-torn Central African Republic on Saturday, Dec 7, 2013, while the African Union said it would nearly double its force in a bid to stamp out deadly sectarian violence.
Cheering residents honked horns, danced and banged on saucepans as some 200 French troops rolled into the mainly Christian town of Bouar in the west of the country.
Weary of months of violence from a rebellion that overthrew the government in March, provoking bloody sectarian clashes between Muslim and Christian communities, the residents yelled out "Thank you!" and "Save us!" The communal violence, which has terrorised rural towns for months, flared in the capital Bangui on Thursday, Dec 5, leaving at least 300 dead in a wave of attacks, the Red Cross said.
Describing the bloodshed as "terrifying", French President Francois Hollande announced he would send 400 more troops than previously envisaged, boosting a UN-mandated force to 1,600 troops by Saturday night.