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   PARIS (AP) - France's defense minister says the country will send 1,000 troops to Central African Republic, which has been in turmoil since March when rebel groups overthrew the president.

   It's the second time this year that France has sent forces to a former colony, and Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said it was needed to keep chaos at bay in Central African Republic. France has about 2,800 troops in Mali, an operation that began after rebels and al-Qaida linked militants moved to take over the capital.

   Le Drian told Europe 1 radio "We cannot have a country in collapse like that." He said Tuesday the French troops would join an African force.

   The rebels have been accused by rights groups of committing atrocities including killings, rapes and conscription of child soldiers.

   

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