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UN delegation eyes Mali peacekeeping challenge up close

A year after French troops sent Islamic militants scattering in Mali, a UN Security Council delegation is in the African country to weigh the challenges faced by the undermanned, African-led peacekeeping mission there. Gerard Araud, France's top representative on the Security Council and the head of the delegation, told reporters after arrival late Saturday in the capital Bamako that the delegation was to visit through to Monday, "with the aim of backing stabilisation in the country and action".

African peacekeeping force recaptures rebel-held town

The commander of the African peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic said on Saturday his troops had recaptured the town of Sibut after it was seized by rebel fighters. "As I speak, MISCA has taken control of the town of Sibut," General Tumenta Chomud told Central African state radio, referring to the peacekeepers. "A Gabonese contingent from MISCA is in place in the town. It is clear that the Seleka fighters can be contained and they will be disarmed." acp-mc/dh/cc

Honduran soldiers join UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti

An initial group of 37 Honduran soldiers joined United Nations peacekeeping forces in Haiti on Friday with more troops to follow, officials said. The Honduran military is supporting UN peacekeeping missions in Haiti as the poorest country in the Americas grapples with political instability. "We are proud to know that Honduras is accounted for in integrating in these missions," Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Fredy Diaz told reporters after the soldiers' departure.

Africa leaders tackle C.Africa, S.Sudan conflict

Africa's leaders met Friday for the final day of a summit dominated by conflict in South Sudan and Central African Republic, with the continental bloc drumming up support for a peacekeeping mission on the ground. Officially focused on agriculture and food security, the 54-member continental bloc has spent much of the time bogged down yet again trying to resolve conflict in member states.

UN chief calls on African donors to fund CAR force

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on African nations Tuesday to give full financial support to peacekeeping forces in the Central African Republic when donors meet this weekend. In a statement attributed to his spokesperson, the UN leader welcomed the announcement of a new government in the strife-torn country and congratulated interim president Catherine Samba Panza and Prime Minister Andre Nzapayeke "for their efforts to put the transition back on track."

C. Africa president to ask UN for peacekeeping operation

The president of the Central African Republic said Tuesday she would ask the UN for a full-fledged peacekeeping operation, saying the French and African Union troops already deployed to the crisis-hit country were insufficient. "Abuses are continuing despite the presence of operation Sangaris and MISCA elements," Catherine Samba Panza said on French radio, referring to the French and African operations. "That means that those forces do not have enough men to reestablish and assure the security of the people," she added.

C. Africa president to ask UN for peacekeeping operation

The president of the Central African Republic said Tuesday she would ask the UN for a full-fledged peacekeeping operation, saying the French and African Union troops already deployed to the crisis-hit country were insufficient. "Abuses are continuing despite the presence of operation Sangaris and MISCA elements," Catherine Samba Panza said on French radio, referring to the French and African operations. "That means that those forces do not have enough men to reestablish and assure the security of the people," she added.

UN to threaten sanctions over Central Africa chaos

The UN Security Council will threaten sanctions Tuesday against the ringleaders of deadly turmoil in the Central African Republic and give a mandate to EU troops bolstering international forces there. The French-drafted resolution, expected to be adopted unanimously by the 15-nation council, also steps up pressure on interim President Catherine Samba Panza to restore order.

Italy helicopter crash kills general

An Italian general renowned for commanding peacekeeping missions died in a military helicopter crash north of Rome Thursday that also killed a trainee pilot, emergency services said. General Giangiacomo Calligaris, 57, who led an army aviation division, perished in the accident along with the 25-year-old flight lieutenant, Paolo Tozzi, according to Italian media. The AB206 helicopter they were the only occupants in hit high-voltage cables and crashed between the towns of Tuscania and Montalto di Castro.

Central African Republic children forced to commit atrocities: U.N.

By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - As many as 6,000 children in Central African Republic have been recruited by armed groups and forced to commit atrocities along religious lines in a conflict that is at high risk of spiraling into genocide, U.N. envoys said on Wednesday. More than half the landlocked state's 4.6 million people need assistance and nearly one million have fled their homes after mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in a March coup d'etat that ousted former President Francois Bozize.
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