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French increase security in Central African Republic

From Bambou Faustin, for CNN
December 26, 2012 -- Updated 2107 GMT (0507 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hundreds of demonstrators threw stones and pipes outside the French Embassy in Bangui
  • President Hollande ordered troops already in the country to safeguard the embassy
  • France has a permanent military presence in the country

Bangui, Central African Republic (CNN) -- French President Francois Hollande has ordered his defense minister to deploy soldiers who were already in the Central African Republic to safeguard the embassy in Bangui after a demonstration there Wednesday, his office said in a statement.

The order came after hundreds of youths gathered during the morning outside the embassy, where they threw pipes and stones at the embassy to protest French policies affecting the Central African Republic, witnesses said.

France has a permanent presence of 200 to 300 military personnel at Bangui's airport under the mandate of the Economic Community of Central African States.

The Central African Republic came into being after the French colony known as Ubangi-Shari gained independence in 1960.

According to the CIA World Factbook, the government, led by a general, does not fully control the countryside.

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