AU seeks help for strife-torn CAR
20 September 2013, 19:30
Addis Ababa - The African Union on Friday urged the
international community to do more in the poor and strife-torn Central African
Republic (CAR), describing the situation there as "dire".
"CAR needs a lot of assistance, the humanitarian
situation is dire, we need all to do more, whatever can be done to that end is
welcome," El Ghassim Wane, the AU's Deputy Commissioner for Peace and
Security, told AFP.
A rebel coalition known as the Seleka seized power on 24 March,
forcing out president Francois Bozize after 10 years in power.
The Seleka alliance, which has since been officially
dissolved, was made up of rebel groups that had been operating in the lawless
north of the country since 2003.
As they took over and installed Seleka leader Michel
Djotodia as head of state, the rebels were accused of going on a looting and
killing spree, displacing up to 180 000 people.
A 1 100-strong African peacekeeping force, Micopax, is on
the ground and is set to be boosted to 3 652 troops from neighbouring
Wane said the AU was urgently seeking approval from the
UN Security Council to deploy troops.
"We need to ensure that we mobilise the remaining
troops as quickly as possible and get the mission on the ground," he said.
The AU is seeking additional support from partners for
the mission, partly funded by the European Union (EU).
"We are working with the EU already on part of the
funding," he said.
"To deploy a mission you always need international
support in terms of logistics and even funding, so this is what we are working
On Thursday, French President Francois Hollande said he
would lead a mini-summit with the leaders of Gabon, Chad and Cameroon to
discuss boosting the peacekeeping mission in CAR.
A former French colony, CAR is one of the world's poorest
countries - with unexploited natural resources - and has been chronically
unstable for the greater part of the past two decades.