France has deployed an additional 150 soldiers to the strife-torn Central African Republic, the Defence Ministry in Paris said Saturday, confirming a Radio France International report.
They were sent to the capital Bangui “to protect French and European citizens,” the ministry said. The paratroops had been shifted there from Libreville, the Gabonese capital, as a “precautionary measure.”
The ministry has said there are 1,200 French nationals in the Central African Republic, formerly a French colony.
A rebel coalition known as Seleka has been advancing on the capital, prompting President Francois Bozize to appeal to the United States and France to aid him. But French President Francois Hollande declined to intervene militarily, saying: “That time is over.”
On Wednesday, demonstrators attacked the French embassy in Bangui, accusing France of siding with the government in the conflict. -Sapa-dpa