French troops pour into Central Africa after deadly clashes

December 8, 2013 6:29 am

“I believe we can quickly put a stop to the current atrocities and massacres,” Hollande said, adding the long-term goal was to “re-establish stability and, when the time is right, organise free and democratic elections”.

MISCA, currently 2,500-strong has been unable to stem the country’s descent into chaos since a motley coalition of mostly Muslim rebel fighters known as Seleka overthrew president Francois Bozize in March.

The Seleka chief Djotodia became president, the first Muslim leader of the mostly Christian country.

Although he informally disbanded the Seleka, the ex-rebels continued to wreak havoc. Local Christians responded by forming vigilante groups and the government quickly lost control of the sprawling, landlocked country.

Reports have described a series of horrors, with security forces and militia gangs razing villages, carrying out public killings and perpetrating widespread rapes.

On Saturday overwhelmed Red Cross staff continued to pick up dead and mutilated bodies – mostly clubbed or hacked to death – from the streets of the capital.

Doctors Without Borders said in a statement it had treated 190 people in the past two days for injuries such as bullet, machete or knife wounds at the overcrowded local hospital.

In a sign of the anarchy gripping the nation, the Bangui prosecutor on Saturday announced a “war arsenal” including AK47s, ammunition and bags of combat gear had been found at the home of Interior and Security Minister Josue Binoua, an ally of Bozize.

Prosecutor Ghislain Grezenguet said a judicial inquiry had been opened against Binoua, who has often railed against the “Islamic peril” posed by the Seleka rebels.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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