Malian authorities on Sunday (February 24th) showcased a weapons stockpile seized from fleeing Islamists militants in Gao.
"What we have here, it's indicative of an army, or groups that have the capacity of an army," AFP quoted Gao commander Laurent Mariko as saying.
The reclaimed weapons on display Sunday included M-16 assault rifles, Czech-made sniper rifles, Russian-made rockets and army uniforms. Malian Special Forces, French troops and groups of "young patriots" seized the arms, Mariko said.
According to Dakar-based human rights group RADDHO, some of the 35,000 tonnes of weapons from Moamer Kadhafi's arsenal could have entered Mali.
Al-Qaeda-linked armed Islamists had occupied Gao for nine months before African and French forces retook the northern city on January 26th.