Hagel: U.S. to Support Mission in Central African Republic

U.S. Africa Command will transport troops in Burundi to Central African Republic

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday that the United States military will transport troops in Burundi to Central African Republic as foreign forces boost their ground presence after last week’s deadly Muslim-Christian clashes left about 400 dead.

The new approval, in which Hagel committed the U.S. Africa Command to begin ferrying troops in coordination with France’s effort, comes amid a request by French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who had requested “limited” assistance. The announcement comes days after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution allowing French and African Union forces to increase their troop levels and use force if necessary to restore basic law and order.

At least 394 people were killed in Bangui last week in one of the bloodiest upticks in violence there all year. Anti-balaka fighters, mostly Christians and supporters of ousted President François Bozizé, attacked Muslim rebels from the disbanded Séléka coalition that led the coup in March.

(PHOTOS: Bloodshed in Bangui: A Day That Will Define Central African Republic)