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France in 'final phase' of Mali intervention: Experts

Published on Jan 30, 2013 9:30 PM
 
French soldiers man a checkpoint at the French controlled area of the Bamako airport on Jan 26, 2013. France is entering the final phase of its military intervention in Mali after a lightning advance that quickly exposed the weakness of Islamist rebels holding the country's north, experts said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - France is entering the final phase of its military intervention in Mali after a lightning advance that quickly exposed the weakness of Islamist rebels holding the country's north, experts said.

But while the rebels may be on the run, they still pose a threat and much work remains to be done to flush them out of a vast cross-border desert region.

French forces on Wednesday entered Kidal, the last major town in their drive to rout Islamist fighters from northern Mali, days after the French-led capture of Gao and Timbuktu in a three-week offensive.

With the Islamists being driven from all their major strongholds, Paris is now hoping to wind down its intervention and hand the struggle over to African troops.

 
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