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Hollande to visit Central African Republic, Nigeria next week

French and Burundian soldiers in Bangui AFP

French President François Hollande is to visit the Central African Republic (CAR) and Nigeria next week. In the CAR he will pledge France's support for peace efforts in the country, where France has had troops since 2013. In Nigeria he will take part in a summit on fighting the Boko Haram armed Islamist group.

Hollande will go to the CAR on 13 May to express "his support for peace and the stabilisation of the country", a statement by the president's office said Thursday.

France sent troops in the Sangaris operation to help curb violence between Muslim and Christian militias that led to thousands of deaths and intends to withdraw them this year.

But his visit comes as investigations continue into accusations that French soldiers sexually abused children during their mission.

Hollande will go to Nigeria to take part in a regional summit, focused on fighting Boko Haram, in Abuja.

The meeting will also be attended by representatives of neighbouring countries Cameroon, Chad and Niger, as well as the United States and Britain.

France and Nigeria signed a roadmap for military cooperation at the end of last month.