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Posted on Thursday, 26 September 2013 11:51

France calls attention to Central Africa Republic, a potential Somalia

CAR's crisis began after a rebel group known as Seleka ousted the president François Bozizé. Photo©ReutersFrance has called for an immediate intervention in the Central African Republic (CAR) saying the war torn country has degenerated into a chaos.

The call follows plans by the African Union (AU) plans to deploy a 3,600-strong peacekeeping mission - known as MISCA - in the country.

France which has a small force in CAR's capital Bangui to secure the airport and its local interests, says it would be ready to provide logistical support and increase its troop numbers to between 700 and 750 men if needed.

The situation in the Central African Republic constitutes a terrible human tragedy

Speaking at a joint session of the European Union and United Nations humanitarian affairs officials on Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned that if action was not taken by regional forces, as well as the African Union and the UN, CAR may become the new Somalia.

"CAR has become a lawless state and in a lawless state, the exactions increase and without any action it can become the refuge of all terrorists," Fabius told reporters.

France says radical Islamist groups Are already operating in the troubled country.

Nonetheless, the former Colonial power is reluctant to get directly involved in the CAR crisis.

After exerting its forces to oust Islamist rebels from one of its former colonies, Mali, France has urged AU to do its best to resolve the crisis.

France's concern has also been echoed by the United States.

The AU has asked for financial, logistical and technical support from the United Nations. But ultimately would like the African mission to be turned into a UN peacekeeping force.

Seeing a need for urgent action, France plans to draft a resolution to put to the Security Council in October to increase support for the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office, or BINUCA, in CAR, providing it with rights observers.

At the meeting on CAR at the UN, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power told delegates that the U.S. was "deeply alarmed" by the prospect of the country becoming a safe haven for violent extremists.

"The situation in the Central African Republic constitutes a terrible human tragedy and a threat to international peace and security," she said.

"This merits the full and immediate prioritization and attention of the international community at the highest levels."

The crisis in CAR has failed to spur international interest, as other conflicts such as the Syrian civil war continues to command global attention.

"It is now more important than ever to react because each day that passes endangers the country even more.

"We have to act now because tomorrow will be too late," CAR Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye told delegates.

CAR's crisis began after a rebel group known as Seleka ousted the president François Bozizé.

The rebel leader Michel Djotodia, was officially sworn in as the country's president last month, but he has failed to contain waves of looting and killing by his rebel group.

Also, forces loyal to the ousted president have led waves of counter insurgency in the country, setting the stage for a civil war.



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