Paris: Having captured Kidal, the last Mali town under Islamist stronghold, France on Thursday declared that Mali operation as a success.
French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said to a French radio that the three-week-old military operation in Mali was a success but added that and they donot have any intention to leave Mali for now as further military risks remain in a nation where the Islamists had captured northern parts in April last year.
France intervened in Mali on Jan 11 when Al Qaeda-linked militants lodged in Mali’s north began pushing towards south. French led troops took nearly three weeks to recapture the three provincial capitals held by the Islamists, namely, Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal for last 10 months.
In Kidal, French didn’t meet any resistance when their aircraft landed there Wednesday.
Kidal, the Islamists` last key stronghold has been recaptured but many fear the Islamists now will attempt to hide among civilian populations in small outlying villages, only to return and attack the weaker African forces once the French are gone.
The Islamists are believed to have an elaborate system of caves and other desert hideouts that they have constructed over the last year as momentum for a West African regional military intervention stalled.
There are 3,500 French troops involved in the operation and 2,900 Africans, according to the latest figures from the French Defense Ministry.
With Agency Inputs