French and Malian troops have surrounded Timbuktu and are aiming to secure the city after seizing the airport. A senior military officer reported they met no resistance.
There are reports of rebels setting fire to homes and thousands of priceless manuscripts and also handing out beatings to residents as they fled the city.
The operation comes a day after celebrations in Gao as Islamist militants were driven out of the town.
The ancient city of Timbuktu has been one of the bastions of the al Qaeda-allied fighters who have controlled the north for 10 months.
Two displaced residents gave their reaction. “I’m really glad to hear about Timbuktu because we haven’t had news for four days, networks are cut. We really worry for parents who are there. I welcome this very good news,” said one.
Another added: “Frankly, if they secure the city today, I am ready to return immediately to Timbuktu. French troops must not leave us alone then because those Islamists who fled may come back and cause problems for us. French troops have to stay a bit to stabilise the place.”
The African Union is meeting to discuss sending more troops while the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius reacted with claims that, “little by little Mali is being liberated”.
Military experts though fear the rebels could carry on a hit-and-run style guerrilla campaign.
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1#ن: How an Arabic letter was reclaimed to support Iraq’s persecuted Christians | euronews, world news
- 2Ellen MacArthur: making waves on a journey to a circular economy | euronews, the global conversation
- 3China executes eight Muslims convicted of terrorism | euronews, world news
- 4Putin T-Shirts flying off the shelves at Moscow megastore | euronews, world news
- 5Everything you need to know about the Ebola virus | euronews, world news
- 6Ukraine accuses Russian aid convoy of stealing factory equipment | euronews, world news
- 7Massive Swedish forest fire is declared a national emergency | euronews, world news
- 8Risk of fresh ash cloud threatens European air travel | euronews, world news
- 9Iceland warns Europe’s airlines of possible volcanic eruption | euronews, world news
- 10Beyond the subconscious | euronews, futuris
- 11Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland continues to rumble | euronews, world news
- 12Poland wants compensation from the EU for Russian import ban | euronews, world news
- 13Man, 27, fails in suicide bid after tigers reject chance to eat him | euronews, world news
- 14EU’s Russia sanctions doing more harm than good says Hungary’s PM Orban | euronews, world news
- 15Romania buys into bitcoin big time | euronews, corporate
- 16Portugal hopes to become a pensioner’s paradise with zero tax offer | euronews, reporter
- 17A robot that grows | euronews, futuris
- 18Malta opera star Joseph Calleja’s summer concert draws big crowd | euronews, le mag
- 19Turkey’s women have the last laugh | euronews, world news
- 20Greek farmers suffer in economic war between Russia and EU | euronews, economy
Wires > News
- 16:51 CET Insight – A broken man living on dreams pulls Japan into Syria…
- 16:47 CET Iran says testing new nuclear enrichment machine, may irk West
- 16:40 CET Germany to decide on military aid for Iraq on Sunday – minister
- 16:35 CET Germany steps up fight against far right after neo-Nazi murders
- 16:28 CET Afghan election audit disrupted as candidates declare walk-out
- 16:25 CET President-elect Erdogan heralds “new Turkey” in last party speech
- 16:18 CET Cameroon says kills 27 Boko Haram militants in border clashes
- 16:02 CET Police shoot to death criminals near U.N., U.S. sites in Nairobi