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Sudan Islamists protest French role in Central Africa

About 200 fundamentalist Muslim protesters in Sudan gathered for the second week in a row on Friday to denounce France's role in the Central African Republic, an AFP reporter saw. "Down, down France!" the group, calling themselves the Popular Front to Support African Muslims, shouted near the presidential palace in central Khartoum after weekly prayers. Two thousand French and 6,000 African peacekeepers have been deployed to Central Africa, which borders Sudan, on a mission to halt sectarian killings.

Japanese foreign minister eyes visiting Bangladesh, Myanmar

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is planning to visit Bangladesh and Myanmar from March 21 to 25, government sources said Friday. Kishida plans to hold talks with the countries' leaders and foreign ministers on how to promote economic cooperation, the sources said. After meeting with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka, Kishida plans to arrive in Myanmar on March 23 for talks with President Thein Sein and other senior officials.

East African states to send troops to monitor South Sudan ceasefire - mediator

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - East African states agreed on Thursday to deploy troops into South Sudan by mid-April to help enforce a ceasefire deal between government forces and rebels, the chief mediator in peace talks between the two sides said. Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda will contribute troops while Djibouti is also expected to join a force that will seek logistical support from the African Union and the United Nations Security Council.

U.N. says Central Africa, South Sudan refugees 'in poor shape', children hardest hit

GENEVA (Reuters) - People fleeing conflicts in Central African Republic and South Sudan are growing increasingly sick and hungry with children particularly at risk, United Nations aid agencies said on Tuesday. Among the latest deaths were 15 malnourished children who "died before they could be saved" at the weekend, having crossed from Central African Republic into Cameroon, said Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR.

Foreign ministers of 7-nation Bay of Bengal group meet in Myanmar

Foreign ministers from countries sharing the Bay of Bengal plus Nepal and Bhutan met in the Myanmar capital on Monday to lay the groundwork of a regional summit this week. The leaders of the regional grouping are expected to announce at their meeting Tuesday the establishment of a permanent secretariat to promote socioeconomic cooperation in the region.

Food crisis looms in strife-torn Central Africa

A food crisis is looming in the Central African Republic after nearly a year of inter-religious violence, a UN humanitarian official warned Sunday. "It is now that the humanitarian crisis will start to deepen," said Abdou Dieng, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator in the impoverished country. "If we don't pay attention, we will soon see people dying of hunger," Dieng told AFP after visiting the market town of Bouar in the far west of the country the size of France.

France striving to stop Central African Republic split, Hollande says

By Serge Leger Kokpakpa BANGUI (Reuters) - President Francois Hollande flew to Central African Republic on Friday to tell its leaders and French forces stationed there that France will work to stop the country splitting in two. France's parliament voted on Tuesday to extend the mission, despite tepid popular support at home for a military operation in the former colony where tens of thousands of people have been killed and around a million forced from their homes.

Armed groups surround thousands in Central African Republic: U.N

By Serge Leger Kokpakpa BANGUI (Reuters) - Over 15,000 people in Central African Republic, mostly Muslim civilians in makeshift camps, are surrounded and being threatened by armed militia groups, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday. Adrian Edwards told a news briefing in Geneva that the refugees, dotted around 18 locations in the northwest and southwest of the landlocked country, face a high risk of attack and urgently need better security.

Chad troops kill civilians in Central African Republic: residents

By Serge Leger Kokpakpa BANGUI (Reuters) - Chadian peacekeepers shot dead three civilians in a Christian neighborhood of the capital of Central African Republic on Monday, residents said. Bangui's Christian population accuse the Muslim Chadians of backing Muslim Seleka rebels - some of whom came from Chad - since they seized power in the mostly Christian Central African Republic and embarked on months of looting and killing.

Chad leader calls for more UN boots on the ground in C.Africa

Chad's President Idriss Deby on Tuesday called on the UN to commit more troops to the Central African Republic in order to end the crisis in the strife-torn country. Speaking at a press conference after talks with Central Africa Republic's interim President Catherine Samba Panza in Ndjamena, Chad's capital, Deby warned that France and the African Union "cannot carry out their mission properly whatever their determination" as they did not have enough troops. "We need more men, more means," said Deby, adding that only the UN could provide troops in large numbers.
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