Thousands of Muslims try to flee CAR but convoy turned back before leaving capital

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The organization said Christian militiamen had invaded hospitals in search of Muslims who had sought treatment and refuge. In another attack, the Christian fighters seized control of the town's airstrip, blocking outgoing flights of wounded patients, MSF said.

France strengthened its presence in its former colony to 1,600 troops in early December, who are joined by nearly 6,000 African peacekeepers. The U.N. Secretary-General has dispatched an envoy to the country to consult with the African Union about possibly transforming the African force there into a U.N. peacekeeping force.

While such a mission would be well equipped, it could take up to six months to get a U.N. peacekeeping force on the ground. Ban also has asked France about whether it would consider deploying additional troops.

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Larson reported from Dakar, Senegal. Associated Press Writer Hippolyte Marboua in Bangui, Central African Republic contributed to this report.

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