UN authorizes French, African troops in Central African Republic

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French soldiers patrol in their armoured personnel carrier (APC) during fighting in Bangui, Central African Republic, December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Emmanuel Braun

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council authorized French and African troops in Central African Republic on Thursday to use force to protect civilians, imposed an arms embargo on the country and asked the United Nations to prepare for a possible peacekeeping mission.

In a unanimously adopted resolution the 15-member council also asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to establish an inquiry into human rights abuses in the landlocked, mineral-rich nation of 4.6 million people, which slipped into chaos after Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in March.