EU to send military force to CAR

2014-01-20 19:03
French troops take position in the Miskine neighbourhood of Bangui, Central African Republic. (Jerome Delay, AP)

French troops take position in the Miskine neighbourhood of Bangui, Central African Republic. (Jerome Delay, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Brussels - The European Union will send up to 1 000 soldiers to help stabilise Central African Republic, deploying its first major army operation in six years, EU foreign ministers decided on Monday.

The EU has been spurred into action by communal bloodshed in Central African Republic that led a senior UN official to warn last week of a risk of genocide there without a more decisive international response.

Meeting in Brussels, the ministers approved an outline plan to send a battalion-sized force to the violence-torn country but detailed military plans still need to be worked out. It is not yet clear which countries will provide the troops.

Donors at another meeting in Brussels pledged nearly half a billion dollars in humanitarian aid for Central African Republic amid concern among aid officials at the deteriorating situation there.

"This has been for far too long a forgotten crisis, [but it is] forgotten no more," EU humanitarian aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva told reporters after the meeting with governments, the United Nations and other international organisations.

EU officials hope the EU force, which will be based around the capital Bangui and its airport, will start arriving in Central African Republic by the end of February.

It will stay for up to six months before handing over to an African Union (AU) force that is building up its strength on the ground.

EU foreign ministers said the aim was to protect civilians and to create conditions for supplying humanitarian aid.

"We do face an emergency there and we need to act," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told reporters.

Please France

The plan to send an EU force will please France, which has urged its allies to do more to bolster the 1 600 troops it sent to its former colony last month to stop massacres between Muslim and Christian militias triggered by a March coup.

More than a million people have been displaced by the violence and more than 1 000 people were killed last month alone in Bangui.

The French troops are operating under a UN mandate to assist an AU force that is due to increase to 6 000 peacekeepers.

EU officials will seek United Nations Security Council authorisation for the EU mission on Thursday.

It is not yet clear which EU countries will contribute troops. Estonia has promised soldiers, and Lithuania, Slovenia, Finland, Belgium, Poland and Sweden are among countries considering sending troops, diplomats say.

Large EU countries such as Britain, Germany and Italy have said they will not send ground troops.

Bildt said the EU should send its rapid reaction force, known as battle groups, to Central African Republic.

Battle groups have been on standby since 2007, rotating between different EU countries, but have never yet been deployed, leading defence experts to question their usefulness.

However, military officials told ministers that the battle groups would not be suitable for Central African Republic because they were equipped to deploy for just 120 days.

The EU has 7 000 staff deployed around the world on 12 civilian missions and four military operations, including combating piracy off Somalia and training the Mali army.

But this will be the EU's first land operation since it sent a force to eastern Chad and northeastern Central African Republic in 2008 as part of regional efforts to deal with the Darfur crisis in Sudan, an EU official said.

Read more on:    eu  |  europe  |  central african republic  |  central africa

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

  • Wednesday Epping - 15:22 PM
    Road name: N7
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bofus Circle
  • Wednesday Wellington - 14:45 PM
    Road name: R44 Northbound
    ACCIDENT between Wellington and Hermon
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia E7

Your mobile office Real-time emails with Mail for Exchange. Easy access to...

From R3499.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself fascinated by something which could draw you in to obsessively exploring this subject in more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.