Portugal sends its military to Central African Republic

The headline looks impressive, but the small print talks only of eight soldiers taking part in a year-long mission mounted by the European Union.

The operation is designed to “support the country’s authorities and help manage its armed forces”, a statement from Portugal’s defence council revealed yesterday (Thursday).

The same statement paved the way for “an additional oceanic patrol ship” to be sent to the Gulf of Guinea piracy hot-spot.

Announcing the news, TVI 24 explained the Central African Republic has been battered by “interreligious violence” since the “predominantly Muslim coalition” Séléka staged a coup two years ago.

“Seleka leaders promised a new beginning for the people of the Central African Republic, but instead have carried out large-scale attacks on civilians, looting, and murder,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “What’s worse is that the Seleka have recruited children as young as 13 to carry out some of this carnage.”

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