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The Central African Republic (CAR) has called for international help as it struggles to push back rebel forces that now control much of the country.

President François Bozizé has asked for military aid from Washington and Paris. His country was a French colony until 1960 and France has 250 troops stationed there.

But French President François Hollande says he has no plans to intervene, explaining that his soldiers are in place only to protect French citizens living in the Central African Republic.

A rebel coalition, named Seleka, launched its offensive against the government earlier this month. The insurgents now control the north and centre of the country and are edging closer to the capital Bangui.

Seleka claims Bozizé‘s government has not stuck to peace deals signed between 2007-2011. The ill-equipped state army has provided little challenge to the rebel forces.

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