Video footage shows French Soldiers in heavy combat with African rebels in the Central African Republic.
The scenes were released by the French Ministry of Defense and show the French army during several combat operations that took place during Operation Sangaris.
Operation Sangaris was a military intervention of the French military in the Central African Republic, from late 2013 till 2016. It was the seventh French military intervention there since the independence of the country in 1960. On 30 October 2016, France announced it officially ended Operation Sangaris.
According to Jean-Vincent Brisset, senior researcher at Iris, the name refers to the African butterfly Cymothoe sangaris, and was chosen because “butterflies are not dangerous, do not last very long, are considered pretty and are politically correct”.
In late 2012, President François Bozizé requested international aid from France and the US to fend off the Séléka, a rebel movement that had progressed to the vicinity of the capital Bangui.The Séléka is a Muslim and Northern movement fighting the Catholic South. In March 2013, Michel Djotodia ousted Bozizé from power and became the first Muslim President of the country.
In October 2013, fighting broke out between Séléka elements and Christian self-defence militias called anti-balakas, and the State lost its ability to maintain order.
The United Nations and the French government started voicing concerns of potential genocide.
On 5 December 2013, Resolution 2127 was unanimously voted by the United Nations Security Council to allow an African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) to be deployed for a 12-month duration to restore order and end religious tensions. The MISCA is supported by French forces authorised to use any necessary means.
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