Malian, French troops clash with Islamists in Konna

16th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

Islamists clashed with Malian and French forces Wednesday near Konna, a central town whose capture by rebels last week prompted France to launch a military offensive, security sources said.

"Fighting is underway not far from Konna between the Islamists and our army, with support from the French army," a Malian security source said.

A regional security source confirmed the information, but no details were available on the support from the French forces, who launched their ground offensive on Wednesday after six days of airstrikes.

Islamic rebel groups who have controled northern Mali since April pushed south into government-held territory last week and seized Konna, about 700 kilometres (400 miles) by road from the capital Bamako, prompting France to intervene.

While the Malian army earlier reported it had regained control of Konna, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Tuesday the zone was still in the Islamists' hands.

The area is not accessible to independent observers.

© 2013 AFP

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