Mali's army pushes east

BABA AHMED
Last updated 01:06 26/01/2013

Relevant offers

Africa

'Explicit' show featuring scantily-clad dancers at South African prison ignites scandal Meet Sudan, the last surviving male northern white rhino Famine is over in South Sudan but the job has just begun Injured giant squid knocks paddle boarder in water during dramatic encounter in South Africa Man jailed for dangling baby from 15th floor of high-rise to get Facebook likes Catholic church report: 3300 dead since central Congo conflict began in August Thousands of wildebeests die in a river each year. That's actually a good thing, study finds Too hot to handle: Study shows Earth's killer heat waves worsening Gunmen attack Mali tourist resort, killing four, including two soldiers Somali survivors tell of restaurant siege by rebels; 17 dead

Mali's military and French forces have pushed toward the Islamic extremist stronghold in the city of Gao, in their farthest push east since launching an operation two weeks ago to retake land controlled by the rebels, residents and a security official say.

The soldiers were seen in the town of Hombori, according to residents, who said the troops stayed several hours before heading back westward.

"They were in eight all-terrain vehicles and two armoured vehicles," said Maouloud Daou, a resident of Hombori . "They asked us if there were Islamists in the town and we told them they had left. People were very happy to see the Malian and French military."

A security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to journalists, confirmed the advance.

Hombori is located 150 kilometres beyond the current line of control in Douentza, which came back under government forces earlier in the week. The eastward push puts them just 250km away from Gao, one of the three main northern cities held by Islamists since last April when the rebels took advantage of the chaotic aftermath of a coup in Mali's capital.

Malian soldiers, with help from French military and troops from other African nations, are attempting to recapture northern Mali from Islamic extremists.

The Islamists have retreated from several cities in central Mali but still control the north including Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu.

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content