As troops worked to secure Kidal, the last bastion of radicals who occupied the vast desert north for 10 months before the French army’s surprise intervention, Hollande told Malians it was time for Africans to take the lead but that France would not abandon them.
French President Francois Hollande bathed in the cheers and accolades of the thousands of people of this embattled Timbuktu on Saturday, making a triumphant stop six days after French forces parachuted to liberate the fabled city from the radical Islamists occupying it.
France called for peace talks between Mali’s government and “legitimate representatives” from the north, after French troops took up positions at Kidal, the last city held by Islamist forces.
Hundreds of Malians looted Arab-owned shops yesterday in Mali's fabled Timbuktu, newly freed from Islamists, as global donors pledged more than US$455 million for a French-led drive to rout the radicals from the north.
Hundreds of Malians looted Arab-owned shops on Tuesday in Mali’s fabled Timbuktu, newly freed from Islamists, as global donors pledged over US$455 million.
An international donor conference to drum up funds and troops to help the military operation in Mali opened on Tuesday at the African Union headquarters.
Halle Ousmani Cisse said that fighters allied with al-Qaeda torched two buildings on Saturday where the manuscripts were being kept. They also burned down the town hall and the governor's office, and shot dead a man who was celebrating the arrival of the French military.
The seizure of Gao, the most populated town in Mali’s northern region, was announced by the French defence ministry and confirmed by Malian security sources on Saturday.
French and Malian troops pushed north towards the key Islamist strongholds in northern Mali, as west African defence chiefs gathered in Ivory Coast Saturday to review plans to deploy a regional intervention forc
African forces moved towards Mali’s centre on Thursday, as the European Union joined a chorus of concern over summary killings and abuses in the offensive on al-Qaeda-linked groups.