Share This Page

French bomb northern Mali

| Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, 8:16 p.m.

GOSSI, Mali — French troops launched airstrikes on Islamic militant training camps and arms depots around Kidal and Tessalit in Mali's far north, defense officials said on Sunday, as the first supply convoy of food, fuel and parts to eastern Mali headed across the country.

French planes pounded extremist training camps as well as arms and fuel depots from Saturday night into the early hours of Sunday, according to French army Col. Thierry Burkhard.

“It was an important aerial operation to the north of the town Kidal and in the Tessalit region where we targeted logistical depots and Islamist training camps ... some 20 sites,” Burkhard said. He said there were 30 planes used in the operation including Mirage and Rafale jets.

The French intervened in Mali on Jan. 11 to stem the advance of the al-Qaida-linked fighters. Though they succeeded in ousting the rebels from the three main northern cities they occupied, including the fabled city of Timbuktu, Sunday's aerial operation highlights that the French still view militants in the extreme northern area near the border with Algeria as a threat.

“Here, there's still various Islamist groups like the MUJAO, and Ansar Dine,” he said. The Islamic extremist group the Movement for Unity and Oneness of the Jihad, is known as MUJAO.

As the French bombarded in the north, they neared the eastern town of Gao with its first supply convoy since the conflict began.

Crowds along the roads heading northeast from Sevare toward Gao on Sunday thronged the roads screaming “Vive la France!” and old men in long flowing robes on bicycles held onto the handlebars with one hand to wave as soldiers passed by. Even camels grazing in acacia trees perked up as the 62-vehicle convoy spanning 3 miles lumbered by.

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.