Conflict & Justice

France to send more troops as Central African Republic descends into 'complete chaos'


Seleka rebel alliance members take up positions the Central African Republic.


Sia Kambou

France plans to send more troops to the Central African Republic as the country descends into "complete chaos," as the UN deputy secretary general described it.

Jan Eliasson called for urgent action Tuesday, asking the UN Security Council turn the African Union-led forces already in the CAR into a UN peacekeeping operation.

French officials said Tuesday that France plans to increase its force in the CAR to at least 1,000 soldiers, pending a UN resolution. There are currently 400 French troops in Bangui.

"We are going to reinforce our presence," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France Culture radio. "We are waiting for a United Nations resolution that should come next week.

"Until now, only Central Africans were threatened, but if the (power) vacuum and implosion sets in, it will threaten all countries in the region: Chad, Sudan, Congo and Cameroon," Fabius warned.

More from GlobalPost: The Central African Republic is ‘on the verge of genocide:’ French Foreign Minister

The CAR has been plagued by violence since March, when the rebels — many from neighboring Chad and Sudan — overthrew President Francois Bozize.

Senior UN and French officials have warned that continuing violence between the now-in-power Muslim minority and the Christian majority could become a genocide.

The number of people killed in the conflict so far this year is unknown because it is too dangerous to access rural areas where most killings occur, a UN spokeswoman told the BBC.

However, she said that in the Bossangoa area alone, which is one of the worst hit, several hundred people were killed in the first two weeks of September.

Another 10 percent of the population — 460,000 of 4.6 million — have fled their homes, while another million need food aid.