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April 20, 2014

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France likely to prolong C. African mission

Updated Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 | 4:19 a.m.

PARIS (AP) — France's defense minister says the military is likely to extend its mission in Central African Republic, a day after local soldiers turned on a man in their ranks and stabbed and stomped him to death.

Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio Thursday that extending the U.N.-mandated six-month mission was probably the best way to ensure a peaceful political transition.

Six thousand African peacekeepers have been deployed to try to control the chaos that has enveloped Central African Republic, alongside 1,600 French soldiers. France says the goal is "a minimum of security" but even that has been hard-won.

"We are going to avoid the worst," Le Drian told RTL. "By our presence we can lower tensions on the ground, to pave the way for a peaceful political transition."