African troops enter north Mali town seized from Islamists

29th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

Troops from Niger and Mali on Tuesday entered the town of Ansongo which along with Gao was recaptured by French-led soldiers over the weekend in a lightning offensive against radicals holding Mali's north.

A convoy of more than 100 armoured vehicles and four-wheel drives equipped with machineguns rolled into the town, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Gao, the largest city in the north, AFP journalists saw.

Hundreds cheered them as they made their entry. One woman shouted: "Let me see the liberators up close."

So far, just 2,000 African troops have been sent to Mali or neighbouring Niger, many of them from Chad, to boost the French-led offensive which began on January 11 and led to the recapture of several towns, including Ansongo.

The French troops have pulled out from the towns and have left security to Malian forces.

The bulk of fighting in Mali has been borne by some 2,900 French troops.

© 2013 AFP

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