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Au seeks support for CAR troops

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iol pic afr centralafrica -unrest-

AFP

A Central African Republic policeman guards a looter arrested after members of an anti-balaka militia looted houses and shops belonging to Muslims on January 24, 2014, at P12 district, in the north of Bangui. Picture: Issouf Sanogo

Addis Ababa - African leaders and Western diplomats will hold a pledging conference Saturday to raise cash for the African Union-led MISCA mission in war-torn Central African Republic, officials said.

“What we hope is strong support for MISCA, to enable it to implement its mandate more effectively,” the director of the AU peace and security council, El-Ghassim Wane, told AFP.

Wane said additional support was needed to “speed up the restoration of security and create conditions for successful completion” of MISCA's mandate.

However, he said the AU was not seeking a specific sum at the pledging conference in the Ethiopian capital.

There are currently 5 300 AU troops on the ground in CAR and the force is expected to reach 6,000 by March.

CAR descended into chaos 10 months ago after rebels overthrew the government, sparking deadly Christian-Muslim violence that has uprooted a million people out of a population of 4.6 million.

France has deployed 1 600 troops in its former colony, while the US is providing logistical support.

Wane said support for the mission was already robust, but additional help was required.

“We already have support provided by some partners, but we expect it to provide further momentum to the mobilisation of support,” he said.

The pledging conference will take place following the AU summit in Addis Ababa this week, where leaders will gather to discuss ongoing continental crises, including in CAR and South Sudan.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on African nations on Tuesday to give financial and in-kind assistance to the MISCA peacekeeping force.

Sapa-AFP


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