Dec 9, 2013
US poised to support French forces in Africa
Paris has yet to make a formal request for American troops or military assets to back up the United Nations-mandated peacekeeping mission in the central African nation, Sporadic gun battles have repeatedly broken out between Christian rebel fighters and government troops for weeks in the African country, ever since Central African Republic President President Francois Bozize was ousted in coup in March.
Nearly 100 people have been killed in the ensuing violence, prompting the U.N. to send in the French peacekeeping force, backed by African Union soldiers.
The Pentagon deployed American intelligence and airpower assets into Mali in February, in support of the massive French counterterrorism campaign in the country.
During the four-month counterterrorism operation, French units were able to push out fighters with al Qaeda's West African cell, known as al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, who had taken over the northern part of the country.
French and African forces were able to flush out AQIM fighters from the northern city of Gao and group's various strongholds in the country.