France says it is increasing its military deployment in the Central African Republic by 400 soldiers, bringing the total to 2,000.

Friday's announcement came from the French president's office the same day as thousands of Muslims who tried to flee the sectarian violence in the capital of the former French colony were turned back by peacekeepers.

Tens of thousands of Muslims have fled for their lives in the Central African Republic as Christian militiamen have stepped up their attacks in recent weeks.

Muslims have been accused of supporting the nation's Muslim Seleka government, which was forced from power in the Central African Republic last month.

French forces are working alongside nearly 6,000 African peacekeepers.