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France likely to prolong mission in Central African Republic


GRAPHIC CONTENT - Newly enlisted FACA (Central African Armed Forces) soldiers drag the lifeless body of a suspected Muslim Seleka militiaman moments after Central African Republic Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza addressed the troops in Bangui, Wednesday Feb. 5, 2014. The victim was lynched by hundreds of recruits, pelting him with bricks and mutilating his body with knives. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (The Associated Press)

France's defense minister says the military is likely to extend its mission in Central African Republic, a day after local soldiers turned on a man in their ranks and stabbed and stomped him to death.

Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio Thursday that extending the U.N.-mandated six-month mission was probably the best way to ensure a peaceful political transition.

Six thousand African peacekeepers have been deployed to try to control the chaos that has enveloped Central African Republic, alongside 1,600 French soldiers. France says the goal is "a minimum of security" but even that has been hard-won.

"We are going to avoid the worst," Le Drian told RTL. "By our presence we can lower tensions on the ground, to pave the way for a peaceful political transition."