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AFISMA / MICEMA / Serval

Africa Sustainable Conservation News

AlertNet

French forces in Mali seize airport, bridge at rebel-held Gao

A convoy of French military vehicles heads toward Sevare in the village of Somadougou January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

 

KONNA, Mali, Jan 26 (Reuters) – French forces in Mali have seized the airport and the bridge over the Niger River at the Islamist rebel-held stronghold of Gao, the French Defence Ministry said on Saturday.

French and Malian troops have advanced rapidly against al Qaeda-allied Islamist militant fighters holding the Saharan north of the West African state after France intervened earlier this month at the request of the Malian government.

The announcement from Paris showed that the French and Malian units were making quick progress in their northeastwards offensive against a coalition of Islamist groups that includes al Qaeda’s North African wing, AQIM.

For two weeks, French jets and helicopter gunships have been harrying the retreating Islamists, destroying their…

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