Rwanda to send troops to CAR

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French soldiers carry their weapons on patrol in Boy-Rabe, a northern district of Bangui on December 17, 2013. Picture: Alain Amontchi

Kigali -

Rwanda is sending troops to join an African Union force in the Central African Republic to help restore security to the strife-torn nation, foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo said on Friday.

“Rwanda was asked by the AU to contribute troops to the CAR and deploy urgently, and yes, right now the RDF (Rwanda Defence Force) is preparing to go,” she said in a message posted on Twitter.

She did not give details of how many troops Kigali would contribute, but said they would leave for Bangui “very soon”.

“No date of deployment is fixed yet but we are aiming for before end of the year,” she said.

Military spokesman Joseph Nzabamwita said the army would announce troop numbers “at the appropriate time”.

The AU force in CAR is due to be 6 000 strong at full strength, working alongside about 1 600 French troops.

The US has been airlifting Burundian troops into the country as part of that force.

The Central African Republic spiralled into chaos after a March coup in which the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel group overthrew president Francois Bozize.

Rebel leader Michel Djotodia was installed as the first Muslim leader of the majority Christian nation and disbanded the Seleka, but many rebels went rogue, spreading terror which government forces could not stop.

Months of brutal massacres, rapes and looting have followed, with locals forming Christian vigilante groups in response to the atrocities. - Sapa-AFP

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