US to give $100M to African Union
for CAR crisis

Move comes as sectarian violence in Central African Republic continues to rage

Chadian soldiers in the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic during a ceremony in Bangui on Dec. 19, 2013.
Ivan Lieman/AFP/Getty Images

The United States pledged $100 million to the African Union's assistance mission in the beleaguered Central African Republic (CAR), the State Department announced Friday.

The move comes amid warnings that the conflict, which began when Seleka rebels ousted CAR President Francois Bozize on March 24, is becoming an increasingly dire sectarian crisis between Muslim and Christian groups that has killed hundreds of people, most of them civilians.

"The United States remains deeply concerned about the horrific violence committed by armed groups against innocent civilians" in the Central African Republic, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.

The funds are to assist the African Union–led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic with nonlethal equipment and training as well as logistical and planning support, the statement said.

France hurridly sent 1,600 troops, and the African Union sent 2,500 in an attempt to stabilize the country. On Thursday, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo on Twitter announced that Kigali would dispatch additional troops to the CAR, although she did not say when or how many will go.

This is the second monetary pledge from the U.S. to the A.U.-led CAR force in a week. On Dec. 12, the U.S. announced that it would give an additional $60 million to troop-contributing countries, including France and the A.U., in defense support, including airlifting A.U. troops into the CAR and helping train and equip them. It previously pledged $40 million to help pay for the A.U. peacekeepers.

On Sunday the CAR's interim leader, Michel Djotodia, said he was weighing amnesty for the militias involved in the violence in exchange for disarmament.

He said in a state radio address late Saturday that he had been contacted by a representative of the mainly Christian and animist militias, known as anti-balaka, who were demanding inclusion in the transitional government he leads.

"The anti-balaka sent us an emissary, and said they want to lay down their weapons and leave the bush, but they fear for their security. They gave preconditions ... They asked for an amnesty and entrance into government," Djotodia said.

Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, arrived in the CAR on Thursday.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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