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French general to head EU’s CAR force

Brussels - French Major General Philippe Ponties was named Tuesday to head a European Union military operation in the Central African Republic.

He will begin operational planning for EUFOR RCA after the UN Security Council earlier Tuesday backed a resolution allowing an EU contingent to “use all necessary force” to protect civilians caught up in sectarian strife in the country.

French troops detain a suspected Seleka officer near the airport in Bangui, in the Central African Republic. File picture: Jerome Delay. Credit: Associated Press

EU foreign ministers agreed on January 20 to send up to 1 000 soldiers to help stabilize Central African Republic, the bloc's first major military operation in six years.

The operation is to contribute, for up to six months, to ensuring a safe and secure environment in the area of the capital Bangui.

The force will back French and African peacekeepers with a view to handing over to the African Union.

Sapa-AFP

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