Malian and French forces patrolled Timbuktu on Tuesday (January 29th). The troops on Monday reclaimed the city from Ansar al-Din Islamists and al-Qaeda offshoot MUJAO.
"We are independent again! We were held hostage for 10 months, but it seemed like 10 years," Timbuktu resident Hama Cisse told AFP.
In related news Monday, Touareg separatist group National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and Ansar al-Din splinter group Islamic Movement of Azawad (MIA) took control of the northern city of Kidal.
The MNLA has voiced its readiness to help African and French forces fight terrorists in northern Mali. The moderates who left Ansar al-Din to form the MIA last week also said they would fight "all forms of extremism and terrorism".
MIA leader Alghabasse Ag Intalla represented Ansar al-Din during the Burkinabe peace negotiations late last year.