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April 21, 2014

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French mull prolonged stay in C. African Republic

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 | 6:42 a.m.

PARIS (AP) — French lawmakers are debating whether to extend the country's military intervention in Central African Republic, a nation which has descended into lawlessness and sectarian bloodshed despite thousands of African peacekeepers and French troops.

French forces initially were warmly welcomed by many in the capital, Bangui, with Christian refugees cheering at the sound of French helicopters when they arrived in December. But frustration has grown recently with the lack of security in many neighborhoods. The burned remains of looted Muslim shops are now littered not only with anti-Muslim graffiti but also with "No to France."

Lawmakers were expected to vote Tuesday in favor of prolonging the mission, despite a slow loss of popular support within France. According to a poll released Tuesday, about two-fifths of French approve of the operation.