A few days after France said it was increasing its presence in the Central African Republic, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered the U.S. military to help transport troops from Burundi to the CAR.
The AP reports:
“Hagel approved the order after speaking with French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian Monday night from Afghanistan where he was visiting troops. Le Drian asked the U.S. to help get African troops quickly into the country to prevent the violence there from spreading, said Pentagon spokesman Carl Woog.
“There are more than 1,000 French troops in the Central African Republic, where Christian armed fighters launched an attack on the capital last week that killed about 400 people. The fighters oppose the Muslim ex-rebels now in charge of the former French colony.”
As Scott reported, French troops are trying to quell the religious violence.
Fox News quotes Assistant Press Secretary Carl Woog as saying the U.S. is helping to avoid a humanitarian crisis and to support stability in the region.
“We continue to work to identify additional resources that might be available to help address further requests for assistance to support the international community’s efforts in CAR,” Woog said.
Update at 7:10 p.m. ET. President Obama Urges CAR To ‘Choose A Different Path’
In a message recorded while Air Force One was in Dakar, Senegal for a refueling stop en route to South Africa, President Obama urged citizens of the Central African Republic to “choose a different path.”
The president said Muslim and Christian leaders, “are calling for calm and peace. I call on the transitional government to join these voices and to arrest those who are committing crimes.”