Nov. 2006: French Army in Action (Central African Republic)

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by fantassin, Dec 4, 2006.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. From a dark corner of the world noone cares about....


    French planes attack CAR rebels

    French fighter planes have fired at rebels in northern Central African Republic (CAR) where thousands have fled fighting in recent weeks.
    French Mirages attacked rebel positions in Ouadda and N'Dele in support of government forces.
    A rebel spokesman told the BBC that five of his fighters had been killed. It is the second time this week that French forces have fought the rebels.
    The UN has warned CAR's conflict is linked with fighting in Chad and Sudan.
    CAR shares its northern borders with the two countries, which have been plagued by insecurity since trouble erupted in Sudan's western Darfur region in 2003.
    Earlier this month, France promised to provide logistics and intelligence to CAR in their struggle against rebels who have recently seized several towns.
    The government says the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) rebels are operating from Darfur with the support of the Sudanese authorities.
    The BBC's Joseph Benamse in Bangui says France recently added 100 troops to its 200 soldiers stationed in CAR.
    Under bilateral accords, France's military provides logistical and intelligence support to some of its former colonies in Africa.
    The UFDR rebels say they are fighting against corruption and mismanagement under President Francois Bozize, who seized power in a 2003 coup.
    The United Nations says 46,000 people have crossed over to neighbouring Chad because of the unrest and another 90,000 are internally displaced within eastern CAR.

    Rebels foiled in northern Central Africa attack by Christian Panika
    Thu Nov 30, 2:47 PM ET

    Rebels tried to recapture the northeastern town of Birao in the Central African Republic but were driven back by the army and French fighter jets providing air support, a rebel leader said.

    The country's (CAR) army fought rebels to regain territory as far as Ouadda, 700 kilometres (435 miles) northeast of the capital Bangui, on Thursday.

    Having left the mining town of Bria on Tuesday, a column of soldiers from the CAR armed forces (FACA) and the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) were deployed on Wednesday evening to Ouadda's aerodrome.

    They then entered Ouadda on Thursday and clashed with members of the rebel Union of Democratic Forces for the Rally (UFDR), a CAR military source told AFP.

    Fighting continued into the afternoon, the source said on condition of anonymity.

    The French defence ministry's spokesperson, Jean-Francois Bureau, said in Paris that the FACA, the multinational CEMAC forces and a French detachment met "strong and organized resistance" in the area.

    French fighter jets opened fire on rebels operating in two towns in the north, a spokesman for the French armed forces confirmed in Paris.

    "The Mirages fired in two places, in Ouadda and Ndele, where the Central African armed forced were once more engaged with 14.5 millimetre heavy machine guns," said Christophe Prazuck, a French naval captain and spokesman.

    "They (CAR) suffered casualties within their ranks and asked each time for the French support to intervene," he explained.

    The UFDR military chief told AFP his men were leaving Ouadda. "FACA and CEMAC attacked our positions this (Thursday) morning," captain Yao Bejo said by satellite telephone. "I ordered a tactical withdrawal of my men," he added.

    Neither of the two sides reported a toll of dead or injured from the fighting in Ouadda. The CAR defence ministry announced on national radio that six FACA soldiers were injured, two seriously, during the fighting at the aerodrome.

    In his statement, the minister welcomed the troops' progress. "FACA's recapture of all the zones until recently occupied by the rebels is entering its final phase," he added.

    The government counter-offensive, supported by France, started on Monday with the attack on Birao, 800 kilometres (500 miles) northeast of Bangui, which the rebels had taken on October 30.

    Having taken the aerodrome, backed by French land and air power, FACA took back control of the town the following day. During the operation on Monday evening, French Mirage F1 jets attacked rebels who had opened fire, killing seven, the French command in Paris said.

    The rebels' military chief said Thursday that heavy clashes were still taking place around Birao on Wednesday. This fighting was not however confirmed from Paris or Bangui.

    According to Captain Yao, the fighting around Birao prompted an exodus of villagers. "Hundreds of locals, mainly women and children, fled their villages in the direction of Sudan," he said.

    Despite their retreat, the UFDR chief said his troops were still located near San Ouandja and Ouadda Djalle, northeast of Ouadda, and remained around Birao.

    In a message on national radio on Thursday, a day before CAR's national holiday, French president Jacques Chirac reassured the country of France's continuing support.

    "France stands by the CAR more than ever to support its efforts to find stability and peace," Chirac said.

    Meanwhile, the CAR's private press renewed a strike, leaving news stands empty for a second three-day period in protest against "death threats" against its editors.

    "The three days without newspapers were well observed because the death threats and suppression of certain organisations constitutes a serious threat to the freedom of the press," said Michel Alkhaly Ngady, president of the Group of Editors in the Central African Independent Press (GEPPIC).

    "We must not wait for these threats to be carried out before we act," he added.

    GEPPIC last week denounced "an influential member of the government" who it said had shouted at journalists: "You are selling the country ... You are going to die like chicken, like flies."


    My O,2 euro cents; Chad, a neighbouring country, should soon get up to 1,5 Bn USD in oil royalties from different companies drilling its fields (mostly US and chinese companies BTW, not a single french oil company among those...).

    Since it's been known, the region is in turmoil with rebel movements trying to overthrow both the Chadian and the CAR governments. In both cases, those rebel movements receive sudanese help. And in both cases, the French armed forces have been used either to monitore the advance of the rebels or to stop them.
  2. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

    Fantastic - 300 men in a country bigger than France. It makes the original offer for Lebanon look like gross profligacy.
  3. Since the La Baule summit in 1990, the idea is for Africans to solve their problems without the "white man". The era of sending Bn of paras and légionnaires is long gone.
    There is also an international african force on the ground with French support.
    But of course, if the idea is to criticize for the sake of criticizing...feel free.
  4. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

    So Ivory Coast intervention is letting Africans solve their problems? There's also the allegations of French troops co-operating with murderers in Rwanda after the massacres.

    Thank you. Always a pleasure. :D
  5. The intervention in Côte d'Ivoire was done on the request of the local president; it was then backed by truckloads of UN resolutions praising France's intervention since it precluded further ethnic massacres from being commited; the ONUCI mission is in charge of Côte d'Ivoire, the French army being only in support.

    France has been looking for another country to take over its mission there since 2003 but funnily, nobody has stepped forward.

    If you want allegations, there are tons of allegations about dodgy things happening in Castlereagh for decades; you can believe them or you cannot. Same thing about Rwanda.

    But maybe we should stay on topic rather than bicker like old hags ?
  6. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

    OK, on topic. The serious point is that you can't stabilise or support a country in Africa with so little troops, even with other African armies there. There were far more troops in Sierra Leone and its tiny in comparison. There is also little point in propping up a government that is corrupt and oppressive.

    As to Ivory Coast, Franch involvement hasn't really improved the situation, since both sides now accuse the French forces of favouring the other. So its no wonder everyone would rather they sorted out their own mess. I don't see the French Army preparing to take over peacekeeping in Baghdad.
  7. Mobility, enabling assets, advisors, a smidgem of CAS - it seems to have kept the various pro-French rulers in power well enough without a big, terrorist-attracting white footprint. Probably a damn sight cheaper too.
  8. The "minimal footprint" is the rule now and it will be enforced even more after the situation in Côte d'Ivoire is cleared.
    France has reduced its permanent presence in Africa and the process is likely to go on in the future; it's for example pretty sure that the base in Côte d'Ivoire will close once the current crisis is over, Gabon becoming the "hub" of the French military presence in the region with a permanent HQ, 2 para Coys, a couple of C-130s and Cougar helos to boot.
    A reassuring presence for many peaceful neighbouring countries and a point to consider for heavy handed bullies at any rates.
  9. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

    Except the dirty secret is that many ex-colonies of France were fine until the French govt pulled the plug on the CFA Franc and its direct link to the Franc. Result - collapsing economies and civil unrest.
  10. That shows a complete lack of knowledge of the situation.

    The CFA was made non convertible into other currencies because the French Gvt was sick of seeing the money it invested into its former colonies converted into dollars, marks or French francs by a handful of african politicians.

    Rather than be used in those countries that all suffer from a chronical shortage of banknotes (if you've ever spent some time in remote areas of the CAR or Chad, which I highly doubt, you should know banknotes are rare and in very poor shapes most of the time), the CFA were converted into hard currencies to be then hoarded by the chosen few of the right tribes.

    There was no other choice to keep the CFA in Africa.

    But what about staying on topic for a change ?
  11. Update:

    Far from the cameras, the French Army has been committed for a week in serious combat in the Central African Republic.

    During the weekend, Mirage F-1 based in Chad have attacked on three occasions the rebels of the UFDR, an armed movement hostile to president Bozize, whom Paris supports.

    The planes struck rebel vehicles with bombs and cannon fire destroying at least fifteen. These engagements have taken place in the North-East of the Central African Republic, not far from Chad and Sudan.

    The French Army intervenes in support of the Armed Forces of the Central African Republic (FACA) which undertook, last Monday, to reconquer this area.

    A FACA column, with French military advisers, advanced toward the town of Birao. On Thursday, it had been stopped by the rebels around the town of Ouadda.

    On Friday, a French soldier, belonging to the Groupe de Commandos Parachutistes (GCP), was seriously wounded by an RPG rocket. Hit in the legs, he was medevaced to France.

    “The rebels are not "highwaymen" like you sometimes see in Africa, said a French military source. They are well armed, determined, mobile and communicate with satphones”.

    For the moment, the rebels do not seem to have anti-aircraft missile, contrary to the rebels of Chad who already shot at a French reconnaissance aircraft and shot a small Chadian plane down.

    In French

    The GCP are the HALO platoons of each airborne regiment of the French 11th AB Bgde.
  12. About time that french soldiers got dirty hands again - they have become worse then the Bundeswehr - once a coward always a coward!
  13. Things have been warming up againin the CAR.

    Mirage F1 and ground action again but this time, there has also been a night time HALO jump from a French SF unit.

    French troops aid recapture of Central African airport

    Mar 6, 2007, 22:27 GMT

    Paris - Government forces in a provincial capital in the Central African Republic aided by French paratroopers have recaptured an airport occupied by rebels, according to French military authorities Tuesday.
    About 100 troops of the combined force were able to secure the city of Birao, capital of Vakaga prefecture in the north-eastern Central African Republic, the French military high command in Paris announced.

    The French paratroopers were inserted in a high-altitude night jump from a height of more than 3,000 metres.

    The rebels had driven government troops out of the airport grounds on Sunday and attacked a unit of French military trainers. In response, French reinforcements were dropped into the area and several rebel vehicles were destroyed in airstrikes.

    The airport was retaken without resistance.

    After the military operation, 18 wounded African troops were evacuated.
    © 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
  14. Good luck to the Frenchies who are in country there.
  15. I'm interested Fantassin in the support that the French Govt gives its armed forces in comparison to the non existant support,spending and respect that our govt currently has for Britains armed forces!!
    Maybe yourself or someone else could enlighten me?