CAR – 16 Jan 2015

Hollande says aircraft carrier could support Iraq operations
Hollande reaffirmed that France would reduce the number of troops deployed in the Central African Republic, where it has handed control of peacekeeping operations to United Nations missions.
France had deployed 2,000 troops to curb Christian-Muslim violence in the country. This will fall to 800 by the autumn, he said on Wednesday.
A week after Islamist militants carried out a series of attacks in Paris, killing 17 people, Hollande said 10,500 military personnel would be deployed across France as of Wednesday evening to bolster domestic security.
The president added that the government needed to review the rate of cuts to French military personnel planned over the next three years to take account of security needs.


Central African Republic rebels seek bounty for seized LRA commander
Seleka rebels in Central African Republic want the United States to pay them a bounty of up to $5 million, saying they were the ones who captured fugitive Ugandan Lords Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen.
U.S. forces helping African nations track the LRA across Central Africa said earlier this week that they had detained a man claiming to be Ongwen, a rebel chief wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
Uganda says it has confirmed the man in custody is Ongwen, an ex-child soldier who rose through the ranks of the LRA to become a senior commander.
The U.S. government had offered a reward of “up to $5 million” for information leading to the arrest, transfer or conviction of Ongwen under its Rewards for Justice program.

CAR fighters must embrace farming to end cycle of conflict – FAO official
Jan 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A full-scale food crisis has been averted in Central African Republic following a bout of sectarian bloodletting, but unemployed young men will need jobs for peace to hold in the agriculture-dependent country, a U.N. official said on Thursday.
A “fragile situation” could again erupt into violence unless infrastructure is repaired after more than a year of violence which left more than 3,000 people dead, and domestic food production is improved, Jean-Alexandre Scaglia, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s representative in CAR, said.
“Right now people can eat, but malnutrition rates are extremely high, especially for children,” Scaglia told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “There are still a lot of security fears, and this starts a vicious cycle for food production and the economy.”
Many roads remain unsafe, so farmers are scared to bring their goods to market. The country is awash with weapons. Youth unemployment hovers around 80 percent and some young men have taken to banditry following ethnic and political violence.