27 January 2013

Mali: French Forces Advance On Timbuktu

Photo: Ministère de la Défense Française
French troops head for Mali

French-led troops were advancing on Timbuktu on Sunday (January 27th) after capturing a string of other towns in their offensive against Islamist militant groups in the north of the country, AFP reported.

French air strikes destroyed the home of Ansar al-Din chief Iyad Ag Ghaly in Kidal overnight. The air raids come 24 hours after French and Malian troops seized Gao.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the troops were currently "around Gao and (will be) soon near Timbuktu".

Gao was under the control of the al-Qaeda-linked Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO). MUJAO said on Saturday it was ready to negotiate the release of French hostage Gilberto Rodriguez Leal. "The MUJAO is ready to negotiate the release of Gilberto," MUJAO spokesperson Walid Abu Sahraoui told AFP by telephone.

Meanwhile, African leaders were meeting in Addis Ababa on Sunday to discuss increasing the number of African troops to Mali.

Copyright © 2013 Magharebia. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.