European Union trains ‘credible army’ in C. Africa

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BANGUI, Central African Republic: With European Union help, the Central African Republic (CAR) is seeking to turn the page on years of bloodshed by retraining its army and by month’s end a first battalion is to present arms. The EU last year unveiled the launch of a two-year military training mission for CAR troops in the capital Bangui, along the lines of similar assistance in conflict-hit Somalia and Mali. Some 70 instructors have been tasked with whipping the army into shape and rendering it democratically accountable following its failure to prevent a three-year civil war between mainly Muslim former rebels and mostly Christian militias, that started in 2013. President Faustin-Archange Touadera took office a year ago to oversee the transition to peace in one of the world’s poorest nations, where the conflict has displaced about 900,000 people in a population of some 4.7 million. Much of CAR is still lawless today, and independent United Nations expert Marie-Therese Keita-Bocoum in February deplored that “armed groups have taken over more than 60 percent of the country.”

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AFP

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