Chad Pulls Troops From Car
Chad has announced withdraw of its troops form a peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic (CAR) Reuters

Chad said it is to withdraw its troops from a peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic (CAR) after they were accused of siding with Muslim rebels in the religious conflict that has been tearing the country apart since last year.

About 850 Chadian soldiers were deployed to quell violence in CAR as part of a 6,000-strong African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission known as MISCA, supported by some 2,000 French troops.

"Despite the sacrifices we have made, Chad and Chadians have been targeted in a gratuitous and malicious campaign that blamed them for all the suffering in CAR," Chad's foreign ministry said.

The ministry said troops will remain in place while the withdrawal is organised.

The announcement came days after more than 30 people were killed as Chadian forces opened fire on a crowd in the PK12 neighbourhood of CAR's capital, Bangui.

MISCA defended Chad's soldiers' operation saying they had come under attack by Christian militia.

CAR's descent into chaos started in March last year when President Francois Bozize was toppled in a coup led by a mostly Muslim rebel group named Seleka.

Chad has a Muslim majority and Bozize claimed its troops supported the rebels, an accusation N'Djamena has strongly denied.

After the coup, the Seleka rebel faction were soon accused of atrocities against CAR's Christian majority, sparking the formation of the so called anti-balaka Christian militia group.

Tit-for-tat violence between the two groups escalated in December and has since caused at least 2,000 deaths and the displacement of more than one million people.

Half of the country's 4.5m population is Christian, while about 15% is Muslim.