C.Africa 'Regrets' Chad Decision to Withdraw Troops

The Central African Republic "regrets" a decision by Chad to withdraw from the peacekeeping force trying to quell sectarian violence in the country, Foreign Minister Toussaint Kongo-Doudou said Friday.

"We learnt with a lot of regret of the announcement... of the withdrawal of Chadian troops from the MISCA (African-led force) in the Central African Republic," he said in a statement sent to Agence France Presse by the CAR embassy in Paris, a day after Chad announced the withdrawal after being accused of siding with a mainly Muslim movement that held power for most of last year.

Chad is one of the largest contributors to the 6,000-strong MISCA force, with about 850 troops on the ground.

But its soldiers have been accused of siding with the mainly Muslim Seleka movement -- which seized power in March 2013 and held it until January this year -- and of showing passivity toward abuses some of them carried out against the population.

It came under the spotlight last weekend when at least 24 people were killed and another 100 seriously wounded by Chadian soldiers sent to repatriate their compatriots from the mainly Christian CAR, according to officials there.

The Chadian government said it was pulling out from the peacekeeping force because of "a wanton and malicious campaign" against its troops, one it said aimed to make them "bear the responsibility" for all the country's troubles.

Kongo-Doudou said Chad was a "brother country that had and continues to have ties of friendship and fraternity with the Central African Republic, which strongly supported us and suffered a heavy toll in this process."

Source: Agence France Presse

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