The Straits Times
Published on Jan 15, 2013

750 French troops deployed in Mali offensive: Hollande


ABU DHABI (AFP) - A total of 750 French troops have joined the offensive against Islamist rebels in Mali where overnight strikes "achieved their goal," French President Francois Hollande said in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

"For now, we have 750 men and the number will increase ... so that as soon as possible we can leave the place to the African forces," said Mr Hollande during a visit to Peace Camp in Abu Dhabi, his country's only military base in the region.

"France will continue to have ground and air forces," he said, adding that deployment of African forces in Mali "will take at least a week."

"New strikes overnight achieved their goal," he told reporters while touring the base.