DOHA (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has authorized military transport aircraft to carry troops from Burundi to the Central African Republic to support a French-led effort to stop the spread of sectarian violence in that country, a Pentagon spokesman said. Hagel, who is traveling in Qatar, authorized the use of U.S. transport planes on Sunday after being asked for airlift assistance by French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the spokesman said in a statement. (Reporting by David Alexander; editing by Christopher Wilson)
By Emmanuel Braun BANGUI (Reuters) - French troops fought gunmen in the capital of Central African Republic on Monday as they searched for weapons in an operation to disarm rival Muslim and Christian fighters responsible for hundreds of killings since last week. Shooting erupted near Bangui's airport in the morning after gunmen refused to hand over their weapons, and French forces later came under attack by former rebels in the city center. France said it was prepared to use force if fighters rejected calls to disarm or return to barracks. Paris boosted its military presence to 1,600 troops at the weekend as waves of religious violence swept its former colony.