Home > Latest News > Mali, France repel Islamists

Mali, France repel Islamists

January 12, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Government forces in Mali are said to have regained territory from Islamist militants following air strikes by the French military.
Malian officials have said they had taken back the strategic central town of Konna, which rebels had secured just a day earlier as they pushed south, according to BBC News.
The news came hours after France announced it had begun military operations in support of Mali’s army.Armed groups, some linked to al-Qaeda, took control of northern Mali in April.The Islamists have sought to enforce an extreme interpretation of Islamic law in the area.Regional and western governments have expressed growing concern about the security threat from extremists and organised crime.Announcing France’s military intervention, French President Francois Hollande said Islamists had been trying to turn Mali into a “terrorist” state.He said the intervention complied with international law, and had been agreed with Malian interim President Dioncounda Traore. It would last “as long as necessary”, he added.French officials gave few operational details. When asked whether there had been French air strikes, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius confirmed that there had been “an aerial operation”.Traore declared a state of emergency acr oss Mali, which he said would remain in place for an initial period of 10 days.He used a televised address to call on Malians to unite and “free every inch” of the country.”Our choice is peace… but they have forced war on us,” he said. “We will carry out a crushing and massive retaliation against our enemies.”Late on Friday Malian officials said they gained control of Konna.”Konna is under our control this evening but we are still conducting mopping-up operations,” said Lt Col Diarra Kone, though he warned that some rebels might still be in the town.The British government expressed its support for the French operation. US officials said Washington was considering providing intelligence and logistical support to French forces. 

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