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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

More Troops Head To Mali To Battle Islamist Rebels

Malian soldiers helped by French troops, move a broken helicopter out a hangar to make room for more incoming troops  at Bamako's airport on Tuesday. French forces led an all-night aerial bombing campaign Tuesday to wrest control of a small Malian town from armed Islamist extremists who seized the area, including its strategic military camp. (Jerome Delay/AP)

Malian soldiers helped by French troops, move a broken helicopter out a hangar to make room for more incoming troops at Bamako’s airport on Tuesday. French forces led an all-night aerial bombing campaign Tuesday to wrest control of a small Malian town from armed Islamist extremists. (Jerome Delay/AP)

More French troops are headed to the West African country of Mali to fight Islamist extremists who have seized a town and its strategic military camp.

Several thousand soldiers from West African nations neighboring Mali are also expected to begin arriving soon. Nigeria said nearly 200 of its troops would arrive in Mali in the next 24 hours.

French President Francois Hollande launched an attack on Mali’s rebels, who are linked to al-Qaida, last week after the insurgents began advancing south.

France’s action preempted a United Nations-approved plan for a military operation in Mali, which was expected to start about nine months from now.

Hollande decided a military response could not wait that long in its former colony.

Guest:

  • Thomas Fessy, West Africa correspondent for the BBC.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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