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Timeline

January 21: After facing resistance from Islamists, French and Malian troops enter and reclaim the down of Diabaly. French forces extend their deployment northward.

January 18-19: Around 150 troops from Senegal, Nigeria and Togo arrive in Bamako to help reinforce the five-days old joint French-Malian ground offensive.

January 16, 2013: French combat troops are mobilised for the first time as France’s military campaign enters its sixth day. A column of French tanks is sent north from the capital Bamako to reclaim the town of Diabaly, taken by jihadists on January 14.

January 15: On a state visit to the United Arab Emirates, President François Hollande announces that 750 French troops have been deployed in Mali and that the number will continue to grow. Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian later says France’s fighting force will increase to 2,500 soldiers, while Nigeria announces the imminent arrival of its 900-strong force.

January 14: After suffering losses in the first days of France’s air assault, Islamists vow to strike back with attacks on French soil and capture the town of Diabaly, located 400km north of Bamako. France declares that the UN Security Council has given it unanimous backing for its action in Mali.

January 12: President François Hollande orders tighter security within France’s borders in the wake of the Mali operation, raising the country’s terrorist threat level.

January 11: Responding to a call by Malian authorities, France launches operation “Serval”, an air and ground military intervention in central and northern Mali. The ensuing bombing campaign stops rebels from advancing closer to Bamako, while Malian forces claim to have retaken the town of Konna.

January 10: Islamist fighters launch an offensive toward the south of Mali after a months-long freeze in combat, pushing out the Malian army from the central town of Konna.

 

2012

December 20, 2012: The UN Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 2085, authorising the deployment of an African peacekeeping force to support Mali’s army for a period of one year.

December 11: Under pressure from army officers who carried out a coup in March 2012, Malian Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra resigns. His successor, Django Cissoko, is appointed the next day.

October 12: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 2071, calling on Malian rebel groups to cut ties with terrorist organisations, notably AQMI, and calling on UN member states to provide assistance to the Malian army with the goal of restoring control over its entire national territory.

June 27-28: Al Qaeda-linked fighters push out their former Tuareg rebel allies from the main northern city of Gao, claiming to have total control over northern Mali.

May 27: The MNLA Tuareg rebel group and the Ansar Dine al Qaeda-linked organisation agree to join forces and create an independent Islamic state in northern Mali. A few days later, the agreement is rejected by the Tuareg rebellion which disagrees with the strict imposition of Sharia law.

May 5: Islamist fighters of the Ansar Dine group burn a mausoleum of one of the most venerated saints of the ancient city of Timbuktu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This destruction of mausoleums will continue for months.

April 12: The president of Mali’s National Assembly, Dioncounda Traoré, is sworn in as Mali’s interim president three weeks after a military coup.

March 25-April 1: The rebel National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and Islamist militias, including Ansar Dine and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), exploit Mali’s political vacuum to quickly overrun northern Mali’s main cities of Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu.

March 21-22: Rebel soldiers led by Captain Amadou Sanogo topple the democratically elected president Amadou Toumani Touré. The soldiers say they have seized power in Bamako because of the government’s failure to stop an armed offensive by separatist Tuareg rebels in northern Mali.

 

Via France 24

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