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French army extends airstrike to Mali's northern town (2)


09:40, January 14, 2013

The Malian military said it regained control of Konna with the air support of the French army, vowing to uproot rebels in further actions in cooperation with former colonial power France and regional countries.

More than 100 people including both rebels and government troops have been killed in the battle over Konna.

Support continues to pour in with groups of French and Nigerian soldiers landing in Bamako on Saturday. Senegal, Burkina Faso and Niger said they would each send 500 troops to Mali to boost the Malian army.

The 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Sunday announced a plan for an extraordinary summit in Abidjan, capital of Cote d'Ivoir, next week pending a joint action in northern Mali.

Cote d'Ivoir President Alassane Ouattara, chairman of ECOWAS, on Friday declared the start of a U.N.-mandated operation to deploy more than 3,000 African soldiers to Mali.

Late last year, the UN Security Council approved an intervention plan submitted by ECOWAS to restore Mali's territorial integrity and constitutional rule.

Al-Qaida's branch in North Africa AQIM is considered a major threat in the Sahel region. The military intervention plan was drawn up out of fear that northern Mali could become a safe haven for terrorism and drug and human trafficking.

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