France ends military mission in troubled Central African Republic

Source: France 24

France on Monday formally ended a peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic, hailing it a success despite sporadic outbreaks of violence in its deeply troubled former colony.

The move came just hours after about 10 people were killed in clashes between armed groups Sunday in the restive Muslim PK5 neighbourhood of the capital Bangui, according to local sources.

The toll had yet to be confirmed by the 10,000-strong UN force MINUSCA, which will be alone afterFrance‘s departure in facing the militia groups terrorising civilians.

Thousands of people have been killed and 4.5 million forced from their homes since the conflict erupted in 2013.

“The page has been turned,” French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said at a ceremony in Bangui attended by local officials and foreign diplomats, signalling the official end of the mission called Operation Sangaris.

Sangaris, launched in December 2013 to buttress 12,000 UN troops sent to stabilise the country, had some 2,500 troops at its peak.

“This does not mean the end of military relations between France and the Central African Republic,” Le Drian said earlier in a speech to the Central African parliament.

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