BANGUI – French President François Hollande announced the end of Operation Sangaris, in which French troops had been deployed since 2013 in the Central African Republic (CAR) to help prevent more massacres during the ongoing civil war, local media reported on Saturday.
Hollande said in Bangui Friday the reason he had visited the CAR capital was to mark the end of the military operation.
The Bangui visit was Hollande’s first stop on his African tour as he is scheduled to visit Nigeria Saturday to attend a security summit focused on the threat of Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.
The French leader met with CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera to discuss security in the African country, which has experienced bloody civil strife between Christians and Muslims since the overthrow of President François Bozize by rebel coalition Seleka in 2013.
Hollande congratulated Touadera on his victory in last February’s elections, and expressed his satisfaction about the results of the Operation Sangaris, which he stressed had managed to restore security in the African country.
Meanwhile, Touadera thanked France for its “military and financial support” since the eruption of the crisis that has killed thousands of people and displaced thousands others.
France had 2,500 troops deployed in CAR, but that number was scaled back to 900 personnel this year.
Investigations are currently underway into accusations that French peacekeepers sexually abused children in the country.
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) will be tasked with re-stabilizing the African country, along with an EU mission that recently started activity in this country.