France ‘underestimated’ Central African Republic hatred
France underestimated the level of hatred between Christian and Muslim communities in the conflict-riven Central African Republic, its ambassador to the UN has said.
Gerard Araud told a UN meeting on Wednesday that African Union and French forces were confronting a “nearly impossible” situation.
They were between “two communities who want to kill each other”, he said.
Mr Araud said that calls to end the fighting were being ignored.
France, the former colonial power, has deployed 1,600 troops to try to restore peace, along with an African Union force of some 5,000.
“We have to think in terms of tactics: What to do, in very practical terms, to be effective to prevent people from killing each other when they desperately want to kill each other,” Mr Araud told an event organised to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.
“We knew that there was some inter-sectarian violence, but we didn’t forecast such deep ingrained hatred.
“We maybe need to work with psychologists or ethnologists on how did it appear, and now, how to cool down the situation.”
Meanwhile, Rwanda has said it is sending about 800 peacekeepers to CAR.