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French minister calls up Antony, regrets Indians' killing

New Delhi, March 26, 2013 (IANS):

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian Tuesday called up Defence Minister A.K. Antony to convey regrets over killing of two Indian nationals by his country's troops in the Central African Republic, and was asked to ensure safety of Indians there.

According to an official release, Le Drian conveyed his condolences to the families of the Indian nationals killed in the incident.

The French minister telephoned Antony Tuesday afternoon "to convey his regret over the incident at Bangui airport in the CAR, in which two Indian nationals were killed and six others injured during firing by French troop guarding the airport", said the release.
Antony told the French minister that the news of the incident and in particular, the killing of Indian nationals, was extremely distressing.

"He (Antony) asked that the French forces in the CAR should ensure the proper treatment of the injured Indian nationals and also requested that necessary measures be taken to ensure the safety of the other Indian nationals in the CAR," the release said.

Le Drian assured Antony that the French side was conducting a high-level enquiry into the incident and the Indian government would be informed about its outcome.
"The French defence minister assured that all necessary measures would be taken to ensure the safety of Indian nationals in the country and also informed that the persons injured in yesterday's incident would be provided the best possible medical assistance until they were fit to be repatriated," the release said.

The Central African Republic is a landlocked country with Chad in the north, Sudan in northeast, South Sudan in the east, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo in south, and Cameroon in the west.

The country of some 4.5 million has slid into anarchy. Its President Francois Bozize fled to Cameroon after the rebels seized the capital. A rebel leader seized power in the country during the weekend.


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