Hollande orders protection of French in C. Africa

President Francois Hollande Wednesday ordered tightened security for French nationals in the Central African Republic after violent protests denouncing the former colonial ruler for failing to help stem a rebel offensive.

He also called for the protection of the French embassy in the capital Bangui, which was attacked by protesters who tore down the French flag, Hollande's office said in a statement.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the French mission had been "secured and order re-established."

Some 1,200 French nationals live in the mineral-rich but dirt poor country, which has been ravaged by political instability and misrule since independence in 1960.

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