Poland to offer France logistical support in C.Africa

Poland said Friday it would send a manned military transport aircraft to back French troops in the Central African Republic in February.

"We will give France logistical support with a military transport aircraft and service crew," of 50 soldiers starting on February 1, 2014 for three months," Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said on his official Twitter feed.

French President Francois Hollande said earlier that if Poland were to back 1,600 French troops in the CAR, their deployment would be "considered a European operation and there would be financial aid".

The French soldiers were deployed earlier this month under a UN mandate to quell deadly sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians in the former French colony.

An ex-communist country of 38 million, Poland joined the European Union in 2004 and NATO in 1999.

The Central African Republic has spiralled into chaos since a March coup by the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel group overthrew president Francois Bozize.

Faced with reports of widespread atrocities, France on December 5 decided to intervene to prop up an African peacekeeping force already on the ground. They have since been disarming former Seleka members as well as armed Christian militias.

Two French paratroopers have been killed since the start of the operation.