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EU considering troop deployment to Central African Republic

EU considering troop deployment to Central African Republic
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French troops patrol the Central African Republic (CAR), a country without a government after the president and prime minister agreed to step down under pressure from regional leaders for failing to halt inter-religious violence in the Central African Republic.

The resignations led to scenes of jubilation.

President Djotodia seized power in a coup in March last year when thousands of his fighters, known as the Seleka, stormed the capital, Bangui. The violent aftermath forced one million people from their homes in fear.

“Peace will return to the CAR. There will no longer be any war between the Christians and the Muslims because the man who came to divide us has left,” said a local Bangui resident.

Months of abuses by the president’s mainly Muslim rebels led to the creation of Christian defence militia.

After the coup, heavily armed rebels carried out atrocities against civilians, with reports of people being tied together and thrown off bridges leaving hundreds dead.

French soldiers and African Union peacekeepers have struggled to restore order in the former French colony.

European Union governments broadly backed proposals on Friday for the EU to quickly send troops to help.

The EU ambassadors, meeting in Brussels, asked EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to present a more detailed paper next week, with a view to EU foreign ministers taking a decision on the force on January 20, a spokesman for Ashton said.

Belgium has said it would consider putting boots on the ground as part of an EU operation.