France says all 1,200 pledged troops now in Central African Republic

French militaries, arriving from Cameroon, drive on a road leading to Bouar, on Saturday, Dec 7, 2013. All 1,200 French troops pledged for a United Nations-mandated force in the violence-hit Central African Republic have now deployed, France's D
French militaries, arriving from Cameroon, drive on a road leading to Bouar, on Saturday, Dec 7, 2013. All 1,200 French troops pledged for a United Nations-mandated force in the violence-hit Central African Republic have now deployed, France's Defence Ministry said on Saturday. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - All 1,200 French troops pledged for a United Nations-mandated force in the violence-hit Central African Republic have now deployed, France's Defence Ministry said on Saturday.

"We are 24 hours ahead of schedule with the total deployment," a ministry official said, after a 200-strong contingent of reinforcements crossed the border from neighbouring Cameroon on Saturday.

France already had several hundred troops stationed in the country before the latest outbreak of violence in its former colony.

French President Francois Hollande announced the deployment on Thursday after receiving UN approval, saying it was designed to protect the population and restore stability.