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French Troop Reinforcements Arrive in C.A.R.

The French defense minister says troop reinforcements have begun arriving in the Central African Republic, after reports that around 100 people were killed there Thursday in renewed sectarian violence.

Defense chief Jean-Yves Le Drian told Radio France Internationale on Friday that troops have begun moving into the capital, Bangui, where the streets are now quiet after a day of bloodshed between Christian militias and Muslim rebels.

A movement allied to former CAR president Francois Bozize has claimed responsibility for attacks around the capital.

France sent the troops after a unanimous U.N. Security Council vote on Thursday authorized France and the African Union to strengthen their forces in hopes of returning calm to the area.



French President Francois Hollande said France is doubling its forces to 1,200 troops.

The African Union stabilization force in the Central African Republic, known as MISCA, is expected to bolster its presence from about 2,500 troops to 3,600.

The CAR spiraled downward after the rebel movement Seleka took power eight months ago. The weak interim government was unable to exert control over the rebel fighters, who were blamed for a surge in murder, rape, robbery and auto theft.

U.N. officials have warned the violence has taken on a sectarian tone, with the mostly Muslim Seleka fighters battling mostly Christian defense groups known as "anti-balaka."

The CAR has endured decades of instability since winning independence from France in 1960.

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