French Air Force’s helicopters and jet fighters, including Mirage F1, Mirage 2000 and Rafales, have bombed Islamists targets on Sunday in north Mali, in the cities of Gao and Timbuktu, destroying ammunitions stores, training camps and military bases and killing several Jihadists, Radio France Internationale reported last night.
Gao is the city housing the headquarters of Mujao, one of the rebel groups fighting alongside Al-Qaida in Maghreb (AQIM) and Ansar-Dine (defenders of religion). For the past 10 months, the regions of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu have been under the occupation of the three rebel groups, which are now threatening to attack France and Europe to avenge the French army’s military intervention in Mali.
The Jihadists have also attacked another strategic located some 500 km east from the capital city Bamako, according to a source reached by telephone by Moon of the South. “It’s true, the Islamists are close to the capital city Bamako. I think the place is about 500 km. We just got confirmation from the military. They have come from Mauritania.”
The war is about to take a violent turn this week as more 3000 troops from Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin, Senegal, Nigeria, Togo and Chad are preparing to enter the fray this week, alongside 6 000 Malian troops. The US and UK, as well as other EU countries have also promised to send in troops and logistics.
Humanitarian organisations have predicted that the Malian war will displace more than 700 000 people, including 400 000 internally displaced people (IDPs). The Malian government has imposed full restrictions on the local media, prohibiting any outlet to print or broadcast what it called sensationalist content, related to the war.
*Photo by sr.wikipedia.org. a French M Rafale Mirage launches from the USS enterprise.