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2000 extra troops to arrive in Central African Republic

CAR’s neighbouring countries have agreed to provide another 2000 soldiers to help stablise the country and restore security after last month’s rebel coup.

The additional resources were agreed upon at a summit meeting held in Chad after the delegation concluded that the existing Fomac peacekeeping force in CAR was “insufficient to do the job”. However, South Africa, which has suffered thirteen fatalities during the conflict, is to withdraw its troops from the country.

Rebel leader Michel Djotodia, who heads the Seleka group which ousted President Francois Bozize from power, has been recognised as the current leader in CAR, but cannot be named as president, according to the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

Chad’s President Idriss Deby said: “Mr Djotodia will not be called president of the republic, but head of state of the transition.”

Cameroon: French hostages released

Seven members of a French family who were being held hostage in northern Cameroon have been released. The Moulin-Fournier family, are said to be healthy after their captors – alleged to be linked to the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram – set them free.

French president Francois Hollande said talks had been ongoing for several weeks, but that no ransom was paid for their release: “France has not changed its position, which is not to pay ransoms,” he told Associated Foreign Press. “I spoke to the father this morning… He told me how happy and relieved he was.”

The Moulin-Fournier family live in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde, where Tanguy Moulin-Fournier worked for gas company Suez. They had been returning froma family holiday in the Waza National Park when they were kidnapped by armed men.

In a YouTube video released shortly after the kidnapping, one of captors also criticised France for sending soldiers into Mali to combat Islamist militants, saying: “Let the French president know that he has launched war against Islam.”

Rare blue diamond unearthed in South Africa

A large 25.5-carat stone found at the Cullinan mine north of Pretoria in South Africa is expected to sell for more than US$10m.

“It’s very unusual for a diamond of this quality and size to come to market,” said Cathy Malins, a spokeswoman for Petra Diamonds, the company which owns the mine.

Previous blue diamonds found at the mine have been sold for seven-figure sums at auction. Including a similar sized stone which fetched around US$10m at London auction house Sotheby’s.

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