PARIS – French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Sunday that nearly 400 people were killed in the last three days in violence in the Central African Republic capital Bangui, but that calm had returned.
“We have counted 394 dead in the last three days. Calm has returned to Bangui even if there are still some abuses here and there,” Fabius told France 3 television.
French troops poured into the impoverished landlocked country on Saturday after President Francois Hollande announced he was boosting a UN-mandated French force to 1,600 soldiers.
“There are a certain number of operations under way throughout the country, and operations to disarm Seleka will begin,” Fabius said, referring to the mostly Muslim rebel fighters who were behind a coup in March.
“Our role is loud and clear, and it is first of all a security role. The order has been given to disarm and confine to quarters, we are doing this with the Africans” from the 2,500-strong MISCA force, Fabius said.
“The problem is that some (Seleka fighters) are abandoning their fatigues to dress as civilians, making it difficult.”