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The US military will help fly African Union peacekeeping troops to the Central African Republic as part of a French-led effort to restore security there, US officials said Monday. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who was in Qatar on a tour of the region, has ordered American forces "to begin transporting forces from Burundi to the Central African Republic, in coordination with France," his spokesman said in a statement. Hagel took the decision after conferring by phone on Sunday with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who requested "limited" US military assistance to support the international effort, spokesman Carl Woog said. "In the near term, France has requested airlift support to enable African forces to deploy promptly to prevent the further spread of sectarian violence in the Central African Republic," he said.