DAKAR, Senegal — France promised Tuesday to send 1,000 troops to Central African Republic amid warnings about the potential for genocide in the near-anarchic former French colony.
Whether the French forces will save lives largely depends on how far the foreign soldiers venture outside the capital, Bangui, to the lawless provinces where mostly Muslim rebels have been attacking Christian villages, and Christian militias have recently launched retaliatory attacks.
The French move comes less than a week after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned “the country is on the verge of genocide” and marks the second time this year that France has sent troops to a former colony in Africa.
In January, thousands of French soldiers launched an offensive to free northern Mali’s major towns from the control of al-Qaida-linked militants. After that success, the French military is stepping up its efforts in Central African Republic, a lawless country in the heart of the continent.
No other country is expected to take action if France, the former colonial power, doesn’t get involved, said Francois Heisbourg, a French analyst at the Foundation for Strategic Research think-tank in Paris.