Share This Page

France routs last stronghold in Mali

| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 9:22 p.m.

SEGOU, Mali — French forces seized control of the town of Kidal in northeastern Mali — the last remaining urban stronghold in the country for Islamic militants, officials said Wednesday.

The overnight offensive was the latest success in advances in which al-Qaida-linked militants were ousted from two other major cities, Gao and Timbuktu, since Saturday, officials said.

Unlike previous operations, Malian soldiers were not involved in Kidal, according to French news media. A rebel group said it would not accept the Malian army in the town.

Haminy Maiga, interim president of Kidal's regional assembly, reportedly said that French troops were patrolling and helicopters were circling.

According to Maiga, the Tuareg rebel group that announced it had taken control of Kidal from Islamist militias was gone from the center of town. Members of the rebel group — the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, or MNLA —were on the outskirts of town, he said.

The Islamist militias reportedly withdrew, melting away into the vast northern reaches of Mali, an area the size of France, and some members defected. France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France, Mali's former colonial ruler, would withdraw from the country swiftly after removing Islamist militias from major urban centers.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.