14:37 GMT14 June 2021
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    French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that some 350 French soldiers will remain in the Central African Republic (CAR) as a tactical reserve force for the UN peacekeepers.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — France will not abandon the Central African Republic (CAR) after the Sangaris peacekeeping mission comes to an end on Monday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said.

    "France will keep its commitment to the CAR… There is no question of leaving this country alone," Valls told Radio France Internationale (RFI) on Sunday while on a visit to Cote d'Ivoire.

    Earlier in the day, violence that erupted in CAR, with around 10 people killed in infighting between "self-defense" groups in the Muslim district PK5 on Sunday evening.

    Some 350 French soldiers will remain in CAR as a tactical reserve force for the UN peacekeepers, he said.

    In 2013, France sent more than 1,000 servicemen to its former colony in a bid to end the violence, in an operation named Sangaris.

    The Central African Republic has been suffering from sectarian clashes between Muslims and Christians since the 2013 coup, when Muslim Seleka rebels seized control in the majority-Christian nation, overthrowing President Francois Bozize, who had ruled the country since 2003.

    Thousands were killed in the ensuing violence and about 20 percent of the population fled their homes. Two successive interim governments, as well as thousands of UN peacekeepers, have struggled to stop the fighting and disarm militias since the conflict escalated.


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    Manuel Valls, Central African Republic, France
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