France concerned by rising violence in CAR

France on Wednesday expressed concern at the spike in violence in Central African Republic (CAR) which has been marred by ethnic violence and also attacks against international peacekeeping forces.
France has a small military contingent in CAR, mainly to protect French residents but it also offers support and advice to mainly African UN peace-keepers who are being frequently targeted my militant groups.
The UN’s international force (UNIMISCA) has been attacked several times, alongside CAR government forces, since April 8, with several fatalities as they combat what France says is “criminal” groups in the capital, Bangui.
On Wednesday, Paris “reiterated its full support for the actions carried out by (the UN force), which is paying a heavy prices in accomplishing its mission,” a Foreign Ministry statement said here.
The statement also warned that attacks against UN “Blue Helmet” troops could be considered as “war crimes” and notified those responsible they would be brought to justice.
Paris urged all militant groups – mainly Christian and Animist radicals and Muslim extremists – to lay down their arms and refrain from further violence.

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