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Mali’s fight against the Islamist rebels controlling the north of the country has suffered a setback, causing the West African country to ask for military help from France.

The request has been made in the UN Security council after rebels took Konna, 600 kilometres northeast of the Mali’s capital Bamako.

Mali is currently a country divided, with Islamists in control in the north.

A UN report described it as being gripped by an aid disaster.

Mali descended into chaos in March 2012 when soldiers toppled the president, leaving a power vacuum that enabled Tuareg rebels to seize two-thirds of the country.

However, Islamist extremists, some allied with al Qaeda, have since hijacked the revolt.

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