French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attends an official ceremony at a military base to mark the end of Operation Sangaris, but says a French presence in the Central African Republic will remain. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: France withdraws forces from its peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, but French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that while France was ending its peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, it would maintain a presence in its former colony. France launched Operation Sangaris in December 2013 to try to end a cycle of tit-for-tat killing that began when mainly Muslim Seleka fighters toppled the then-president, prompting reprisals by Christian anti-Balaka militias. The French presence peaked at 2,000 personnel, but is due to fall below 300 by early next year with the remaining troops deployed as part of a European military training mission, to support U.N. drone operations or as a rapid reaction unit supporting the national army. France's withdrawal has left security largely in the hands of MINUSCA, the 13,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission. But criticism of the force has mounted in recent weeks, with local people accusing the peacekeepers of not doing enough to protect them.