French president vows to help stabilize Central African Republic, avoid splitting country

France's president says the hundreds of troops dispatched to volatile Central African Republic are there to help keep the country from breaking apart.

The visit Friday by President Francois Hollande comes days after the French parliament voted to prolong the country's mission in its former colony wracked by violence between Christians and Muslims.

It was Hollande's second trip to the country since France boosted its troop levels here to 1,600 in December. Three months later, France has promised another 400 soldiers.

With a European force of 1,000 on the way and African forces already there, Hollande said a total of 9,000 soldiers would be in place to "end the score settling, re-establish the government's authority, allow dialogue and avoid that the slightest attempt to partition Central African Republic."