Paris: Continuing the effort to drive away the rebels from northern Mali, French jets on Sunday carried aerial assaults on Islamist militants’ training centres and arms and ammunitions depot around the mountainous regions of Kidal and Tessalit.
It’s been three weeks since French-led troops intervened in Mali to thwart the advance of rebel extremists who had started to push southwards after occupying the northern Mali.
French intervention in Mali has so far gained much ground with three key rebel strongholds of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal been recaptured from the Islamists.
French troops landed in Kidal, the last rebel stronghold on Wednesday and took the control of the airport but it is being feared that the town is still under control of “rebels from a Tuareg group who want their own homeland in northern Mali - the MNLA”, a BBC report said.
A French army Colonel also said that “various Islamist groups like the MUJAO (Movement for Unity and Oneness of the Jihad), and Ansar Dine are still present there”.
The French aerial strikes on key hideouts and training camps of militants comes on the heels of a visit by French President Francois Hollande who pledged to help rebuild Mali after the rebels are chased away.
"It was an important aerial operation to the north of the town Kidal and in the Tessalit region where we targeted logistical depots and Islamist training camps ... some 20 sites," said Burkhard.
France has said that it eventually wants to hand over responsibility for the mission to the Malian army and other African counterparts.
First Published: Monday, February 04, 2013, 09:22