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Vol 54 No 25

Published 13th December 2013

More boots on the ground

After despatching two military missions in 18 months, President Hollande’s whole Africa policy is taking on a new seriousness

The loss of two soldiers just days into the Opération Sangaris deployment in Central African Republic reminded French President François Hollande of the human – and political – risks associated with military interventions in Africa. He landed in the CAR capital, Bangui, en route from the Nelson Mandela memorial service in South Africa on 10 December, to address his troops and meet CAR’s military leader, Michel Djotodia. Hollande’s first task was to pay his respects to the two soldiers killed on the previous day in a shootout with local militia. This sober ceremony contrasted with the long-winded speeches and grand setting of the summit on African peace and security he had hosted on 6-7 December in the Elysée Palace. That meeting attracted about 40 African leaders as well as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

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