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The streets the Malian capital Bamako are free of the violence that plagues the north of the country, struggling against an Islamic insurgency.

At a bar in Bamako, several residents gather to watch their President on television assuring them that French troops have arrived to help and air strikes have begun.

One tells of the anxiety people felt before France stepped in: “I am very happy and pleased with this intervention regarding the situation in the north. We could not sleep last night. We consider it is a kind of deliverance that France has intervened at this strategic moment of our country’s occupation.”

Local barman Mohamed feels confident and looks to the future: “It is a bit of a concern for those in the north, but it will be okay. What matters is the total liberation of Mali.”

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