Obama taps career foreign service officer to be US ambassador to Central African Republic

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has nominated a career foreign service officer to become the U.S. ambassador to the Central African Republic.

Jeffrey Hawkins Jr. has been the consul general at the U.S. Consulate in Lagos, Nigeria, since 2012.

Obama announced the nomination on Thursday. Senate confirmation is required. Hawkins has also served in Angola, France, Brunei (broo-NEYE'), Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, India and Pakistan.

The Central African Republican has been ravaged by sectarian violence since 2013, when mostly Muslim Seleka (seh-leh-KAH') rebels seized power. Their brutal rule led to the rise of Christian militias that retaliated by unleashing a wave of violence against Muslims. United Nations and French troops are currently trying to stabilize the country.

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