France preps for Central African Republic mission

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Associated Press

Posted on November 29, 2013 at 8:33 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 29 at 8:34 AM

PARIS (AP) — French officials say they're laying the groundwork for a bolstered military force in Central African Republic, adding capacity to the capital's single-runway airport and sending a warship carrying 350 troops, combat vehicles and logistics equipment in neighboring Cameroon.

Col. Gilles Jaron, the military spokesman, said Friday the warship Dixmude has docked in Douala, Cameroon.

French military specialists with construction equipment will also expand the capacity of the airport at Bangui, Central African Republic.

France already has about 450 troops in Central African Republic — primarily to protect the airport in a country that has descended into near-lawlessness after rebel groups overthrew the president in March.

The French government has promised a force of about 1,000 to bolster African Union troops.

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