Some 400 people have died since Thursday in the capital Bangui

French troops may find Central African Republic mission easier than Mali

PARIS (Reuters) France intervention to quell violence in canada goose clearance sale Central African Republic may prove simpler militarily than the campaign it waged against al Qaeda linked Islamists in Mali this year, defence experts said.

Seleka soldiers drive past French soldiers on canadian goose jacket patrol in Bangui December buy canada goose jacket cheap 8, 2013.

More than 400,000 people have been displaced since Seleka rebels many of them Muslims from neighbouring Chad and buy canada goose jacket Sudan seized canada goose store power in March, unleashing a wave cheap Canada Goose of rapes, massacres and Canada Goose Coats On Sale looting on the majority Christian population. Some 400 people have died since Thursday in the capital Bangui alone.

are intervening for humanitarian reasons, French President Francois Hollande said, outlining a short campaign that would be unlike that against Mali well armed, determined rebels. are no terrorists in Central African Republic.

France has moved 1,600 troops to its former colony, far fewer than the 4,000 it sent in January, along with air power, canada goose coats on sale to crush the Islamists who had seized Mali vast desert north.

Those well trained rebels had sophisticated weapons looted from the Canada Goose Parka arsenals of ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. They were willing to die for their cause and had months to create arms caches and mountain hideouts before the French arrived.

Seleka, by contrast, canada goose replica is an Canada Goose Online ill disciplined coalition of warlords whose poorly armed foreign fighters came for plunder and may disperse rather than fight, defence officials say.

threat in CAR is radically different, said a senior French defence ministry source. not a war mission like Mali. There may not even Canada related website Goose online be a fight.

BUTTERFLY VERSUS WILDCAT Crucially for France overstretched military budget, the mission may also be far cheaper than Mali, which Hollande said had cost 400 to 500 million euros. He said the United Nations would pay for the Bangui operation.

The difference between the two missions is encapsulated in their code names Serval, a desert wildcat, in Mali; Sangaris, canada goose black friday sale a red tropical butterfly in Central African Republic.

butterfly is not aggressive and it doesn last long, said Jean Vincent Brisset, a former air Canada Goose Outlet commodore who once helped choose names for French missions and is now head of the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (IRIS).

France has Canada Goose Jackets suggested it acted in Central African Republic because of fears of Muslim Christian evoking memories of Rwanda, where 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists in 1994 as the world stood by.

In Mali, France intervened to prevent an enclave taking root where Islamists could recruit and train fighters and prepare attacks on the West an Afghanistan on Europe doorstep.

Though France originally cast the mission in Mali as short, it plans to keep 1,000 troops there even after Serval winds down to counter a stubborn Islamist threat in the impoverished Sahel region. peacekeeping mission.

Keen to shed France reputation as policeman Hollande has also said the Central African Republic intervention would be quick. French officials hope a handover to a 6,000 strong African Union force can be completed in six months. peacekeeping mission deploy. said, in Africa, it quite rare that things go according to plan, he said.

Central African Republic Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye has said French forces would need to remain at least a year.

French troops are already having trouble identifying Seleka gunmen, who can shed their uniforms and melt away.

Numbering up to 20,000 fighters at its height, the loose alliance of five rebel movements has dwindled to several thousand men, the defence canada goose outlet store locations ministry source said.

And while Mali desert landscape made it easy to spot Islamist fighters and destroy them from the canada goose outlet toronto factory air, Central African Republic bush and forest terrain diminishes 2018 canada goose outlet France canada goose clearance advantage from its Rafale fighter jets and Tiger attack helicopters.

Central African Republic, you can drive around in the forest for two weeks without being spotted, said former French General Vincent Desportes.

The military challenge is one thing.

Rich in diamonds, gold and canada goose coats uranium, the country has seen little stability in five decades. France has canada goose deals intervened more since independence in 1960 than in any of its former colonies.

Central African Republic also lies at a crossroads of conflict in the heart of Africa, with Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia canada goose to the east, the Islamist threat in the Sahel region to the north and the revolts of the Great Lakes to the southeast.

Months of tit for tat violence between Muslim fighters and majority Christians have fuelled communal hatred.

Louise Lombard, an anthropologist specialising in Central African Republic, said Muslim Christian tensions, interlaced with ethnic resentments, had been building for 10 years.

While Seleka is widely blamed for the Canada Goose sale topcanadagoose chaos, Muslim civilians, who represent 15 percent of the population, say its fighters are their only protection from the Christian militia that have formed in response to Seleka.