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Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic

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The U.S. military will begin transporting troops from Burundi to the Central African Republic (CAR) to help with an international mission to quell sectarian violence, the Pentagon said Monday.

The decision came after France's defense minister requested assistance from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to support French troops deployed to the African nation.

"Minister [Jean-Yves] Le Drian requested limited assistance from the United States military to support this international effort. In the near term, France has requested airlift support to enable African forces to deploy promptly to prevent the further spread of sectarian violence in the Central African Republic," the Pentagon said. "In response to this request, Secretary Hagel has directed U.S. AFRICOM to begin transporting forces from Burundi to the Central African Republic, in coordination with France."

The overall mission, led by the African Union, is to provide humanitarian assistance and support transition to a democratically elected government, according to the statement.

"The United States is joining the international community in this effort because of our belief that immediate action is required to avert a humanitarian and human rights catastrophe in the Central African Republic, and because of our interest in peace and security in the region," the Pentagon said. "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."

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