France started withdrawing its soldiers from the Central African Republic, less than a week after Faustin-Archange Touadera was sworn in as president of the war-torn nation.
Military vehicles and equipment are being flown from the capital, Bangui, to an air base in neighboring Cameroon and will be shipped from the port of Douala, the French Embassy in Cameroon said in a statement on its website Wednesday.
The French military operation, code-named Sangaris, intervened in 2013 to stop widespread sectarian violence that had erupted in the wake of the ouster of President Francois Bozize. Touadera, a former prime minister who won a Feb. 14 presidential vote, will have to restore state authority in regions that are still under control of armed groups. The United Nations has about 10,000 troops in the country.