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Pentagon considers logistical aid for Central African Republic mission

Source: Reuters - Mon, 9 Dec 2013 06:09 PM
Author: Reuters
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WASHINGTON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - The Pentagon has received requests for logistical support to bolster efforts by France and African Union peacekeepers trying to quell violence in Central African Republic, and it is likely to provide some assistance, a U.S. official told Reuters on Monday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. military support could resemble the assistance that the Pentagon provided to France during its campaign against al Qaeda-linked Islamists in Mali this year. That included airlift and intelligence sharing.

The official said the United States was examining multiple requests, including from France, but declined to provide further details.

More than 400,000 people have been displaced since Seleka rebels - many of them Muslims from neighboring Chad and Sudan - seized power in March, unleashing a wave of rapes, massacres and looting on the majority Christian population. Some 400 people have died since Thursday in the capital Bangui alone.

The U.N. Security Council mandated France on Thursday to do whatever necessary to protect Central African Republic's 4.6 million people and restore government authority while an African Union peacekeeping mission slowly deploys.

France has moved 1,600 troops to its former colony. The African Union force is also due to be increased to 6,000 from 3,500. (Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Eric Beech and Cynthia Osterman)

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