France to end military operations in CAR in October

Jean-Yves Le Drian,Francois Hollande,MINUSCA

President Francois Hollande announced on Wednesday that France would end its military mission in the Central African Republic in October.

"Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will go to the Central African Republic next October to officially declare the end of Operation Sangaris," Hollande said at a reception at the defence ministry.

Operation Sangaris was launched in December 2013 in a bid to quell violence between Christian and Muslim militias that left thousands dead and drove half a million people from their homes.

The force, which at its peak had more than 2,000 troops, has been progressively scaled back, being reduced to 350 soldiers in June.

In a bid to suppress the sectarian violence, the UN has sent a peacekeeping force known as MINUSCA, comprising over 12,000 foreign police and soldiers, as well as more than 500 foreign civilian staff.

The chronically unstable country has seen a resurgence of violence since mid-June, sending some 6,000 people fleeing to neighbouring Chad and Cameroon, according to the UN refugee agency.

President Faustin-Archange Touadera, who took office in March after a peaceful election, warned on Sunday that the Central African Republic remained "in danger," with entire regions controlled by armed groups.