A new French trained unit, the "3rd Intervention Battalion of Territorial Infantry" of the Central African Republic (CAR) became operational. An AFP report says that the unit is trained and equipped for both conventional infantry operations and reconnaissance duty. The unit is equipped with "ultra-light" recon planes. The 3rd Intervention battalion will be based at Bouar, 400 kilometers west of the capital of Bangui. The report also mentioned an eastern base near Bria. The 3rd Intervention battalion will be deployed to fight bandits ("highwaymen" in CAR lingo). FYEO suspects some of its duties may include combating poachers operating in the Chinko River region. The French have been slowly withdrawing their own troops from the CAR. CAR President Felix-Ange Patasse has said that the banditry threatens the nation's stability.