French troops in Tombouctou

French troops in Tombouctou

Tombouctou : Mali | Jan 29, 2013 at 1:59 AM PST
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A group of armed Islamists gather in Gao, the biggest city in northern Mali now under the control of armed Islamists

The symbol city was taken yesterday after a ground and air operation. Before disappearing in the open , jihadists burned a cultural treasure. Yesterday morning, a joint air and land release night with a company of paratroopers of the legion, had allowed the French and Malian troops to take control of all access to this city of 50,000 souls. For the first time, a U.S. AWACS radar aircraft were mobilized.

The President of the Republic, who yesterday received the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, has proof of insurance at the press conference: "We are winning this battle. When I say we, it is the Malian army, the Africans, supported by France. ' The 18th day of the operation Serval, and while 3500 French soldiers are now deployed in Mali, Gao, Timbuktu and the cities of the Niger loop are included. Yesterday, the helicopter carrier Dixmude landed at Dakar hundreds of men and vehicles to enhance the operation Serval.

Approximately 2,000 African soldiers, mostly Chadians and Nigerians, are already in Mali. They patrol the city of Gao, resume Saturday after "brief but intense clashes with terrorists," according to Colonel Burkhard, spokesman for the General Staff of the armed forces in Paris. Twenty-five jihadists were "neutralized", ie killed.

Ultimately, 5,700 West African troops and 2,200 Chadians should assist the Malian army to take the North cut off from rest of the country since the spring, an alliance of Tuareg separatists and Islamist groups (Ansar Dine Mujao , AQIM) had proclaimed independence, prior to establishing sharia.

The African operation will require 460 million euros. It will be the focus of a meeting of the countries of the African Union on Tuesday in Ethiopia. Furthermore, international aid to Mali, frozen since the coup of March 2012, continues. Yesterday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has granted a loan of 13.7 million euros.

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The Islamist police patrol the streets of Gao, northern Mali, in July 2012
The Islamist police patrol the streets of Gao, northern Mali, in July 2012
Fury60 is based in Cairo, Kairo, Egypt, and is a Reporter on Allvoices.
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