PARIS (AP) — France's defense minister says some 2,000 French troops will stay in Central African Republic at least until autumn, in part to keep terrorist network Boko Haram at bay.
The Islamic extremist group has claimed responsibility for kidnapping nearly 300 girls and young women in Nigeria in recent weeks, and for attacks around the region. France is providing military help to Nigeria to try to rescue the girls.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Thursday the French troops will stay in Central African Republic because of the need to "to not let a security vacuum emerge that Boko Haram could profit from."
He also said a French officer was killed by a homemade bomb overnight in northern Mali, where France is wrapping up a military operation to root out terrorists.