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French army deploys in western, northern Central African Republic

  • 3c74900e0e012c29450f6a7067007b05.jpg

    Bodies lay in the streets of Bangui, Central African Republic, Friday Dec. 6 2013, a day after gun battles between Seleka soldiers and Christian militias left over 100 dead and scores wounded. To try to put an end to sectarian violence, the UN security council passed a motion allowing French troops to deploy in the country in order to protect civilians and insure security by all necessary means. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (The Associated Press)

  • 119faaf90dfe2c29450f6a7067009e85.jpg

    Internally displaced people gather at bangui's airport, Central African Republic, Friday Dec. 6 2013, as French military helicopters land, a day after gun battles between Seleka soldiers and Christian militias left over 100 dead and scores wounded. To try to put an end to sectarian violence, the UN security council passed a motion allowing French troops to deploy in the country in order to protect civilians and insure security by all necessary means. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (The Associated Press)

An official says French troops are deploying in western and northern regions of the Central African Republic, a day after France stepped up its presence in its former colony to try to stem violence there.

Col. Gilles Jaron, a French defense ministry spokesman, said the French force reached its full deployment of 1,200 on Saturday, with some entering the west of the country from neighboring Cameroon.

Jaron said other French troops are leaving Bangui, the capital, on a reconnaissance mission to the north. He declined to provide specifics on their destination or how many were involved.

France had pledged to increase its presence well before Christian militias attacked Bangui at dawn Thursday. Clashes between Christian militias and mostly Muslim ex-rebels have left at least 281 people dead.