Timbuktu airport has been seized and secured by French and Malian troops. Backed by airpower around 1200 soldiers have now launched an offensive to take the city.
A senior military officer reported they met no resistance at the airport though they uncovered a series of improvised explosive devices. One unnamed member said they were laid by people who knew what they were doing.
“The whole device was set up cleanly, the connections were done correctly, the whole system was ready to work. It was an expert job, it was not the work of amateurs, that’s clear,” he said.
The advance into the ancient city has prompted French President Francois Hollande to tell a news conference on Monday, “we are winning this battle”. His words come with reports Islamists fleeing Timbuktu set fire to homes and thousands of priceless manuscripts.
There are claims from the secular Tuareg rebel commanders they are now in control of the northern town of Kidal after Islamist militant fighters abandoned it.
Kidal is the capital of a remote region which borders Algeria. It was one of the last suburban strongholds of the militants.
Human Rights Watch has raised concerns that members of the Malian military may be settling old scores during their offensive. Images have been released showing dead bodies at the bottom of a well.
African and international leaders will meet on Tuesday in Addis Ababa for a donors conference.
Meanwhile British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said the UK would not be sending combat troops to Mali.
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1Claims Michael Schumacher is breathing independently played down by his management
- 2Ukraine as it happened: Crimean referendum widens US-Russia split
- 3Turkey’s Erdogan threatens Facebook & YouTube over ‘immorality and espionage’
- 4Syria’s Assad expresses support for Putin on Ukraine
- 5Russia: Pussy Riot suffer burns and head injuries after being attacked at McDonalds
- 1Ukraine as it happened: Crimean referendum widens US-Russia split
- 2Syria’s Assad expresses support for Putin on Ukraine
- 3Ukraine as it happened: EU and US announce sanctions to Russia as talks linger on
- 4Russia: Pussy Riot suffer burns and head injuries after being attacked at McDonalds
- 5Claims Michael Schumacher is breathing independently played down by his management
- 1Oscars 2014: ’12 Years a Slave’ makes history with best picture Oscar
- 2Ukraine as it happened: Moscow start talks with Kyiv under US and EU threats of sanctions
- 3Read Jared Leto’s touching, thoughtful acceptance speech
- 4Ukraine: Violent clashes in Kharkiv leave dozens injured
- 5Ukraine as it happened: UN envoy chased in Crimea, Russia-US talks in Paris
Wires > News
- 07:18 CET Malaysia Airlines plane crashes in South China Sea with 239 people…
- 06:59 CET China says no room for compromise with Japan on history, territory
- 06:18 CET China draws ‘red line’ on North Korea, says won’t allow war on…
- 01:08 CET Malaysia’s Anwar convicted of sodomy, political future in doubt
- 00:38 CET Ted Turner rushed to clinic in Argentina with appendicitis – media
- 22:32 CET Three killed in Cairo clashes, 48 wounded across Egypt
- 21:50 CET U.S. special forces sent to train Iraqi special forces in Jordan
- 21:34 CET Latin American foreign ministers to discuss Venezuela unrest