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People living in Gao in northern Mali are celebrating after Islamist militants have been driven out of the town.

The rebels continue to be pushed out of key areas following a two-week offensive by French troops and soldiers from African countries who have formed an intervention force known as AFISMA.

The foreign troops are helping Mali’s government fight an armed rebellion which had swept the country.

French and Malian soldiers are already in Timbuktu, named as an endangered world heritage site by UNESCO, trying to push out the al-Qaeda linked militants.

Mali descended into chaos last March when soldiers toppled the president, leaving a power vacuum that enabled Tuareg rebels to seize two-thirds of the country. France sent troops to Mali after a call for military help on January 11 as the rebels advanced towards the capital, Bamako.

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