Pope's Central Africa trip 'risky', say French

2015-11-12 06:11
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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

Paris - A planned visit by Pope Francis to strife-hit Central African Republic (CAR) this month is "risky" and French troops on the ground could not ensure his safety, France's defence ministry said on Wednesday.

"We have advised that it is a risky visit," officials close to Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

The pope is expected in the country hit by clashes between Christians and Muslims from November 29 to 30 during a much-anticipated visit to Africa which will also see him travel to Kenya and Uganda.

Hundreds of thousands of Christians are expected to flock to CAR, a former French colony, from neighbouring countries Cameroon and Congo.

"This is a country where neither the army nor the police force have been totally rebuilt," said an official in the minister's entourage.

France's 900 soldiers, who back up some 10 800 UN peacekeepers and African Union forces, will secure the airport and help provide medical evacuation if necessary but "cannot do more," the source said.

A UN peacekeeper was killed in CAR Tuesday amid a new spike in sectarian violence.

At least 61 people were killed and over 300 injured in such violence in late September in Bangui before UN and French peacekeeping forces intervened.

One in 10 Central Africans - 460 000 people - have sought refuge outside the country, mainly in Cameroon, Chad, DR Congo and Congo, since 2013.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.