Sep 11, 5:04 PM EDT

US force sent to Central African Republic

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama has dispatched 20 U.S. military personnel to the Central African Republic to help reopen the American Embassy there.

The embassy was temporarily shuttered in late 2012 due to security concerns in a country wracked by violent conflict. The force deployment is seen as a step toward reopening the mission, though the White House did not say when that would happen.

Obama alerted Congress to the deployment in a letter Thursday. He says the force arrived Wednesday and would stay until in the country until the security situation allows more traditional embassy guards and security personnel to arrive.

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