French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian suggested that ethnic Touaregs in Mali’s northern regions should have some autonomy, while saying France doesn’t want to “dictate” the nation’s constitutional settlement.
French forces assumed command of the airport in Kidal, the last major city outside control of the Malian government, French military spokesman Thierry Burkhard said by phone, declining to give details because operations are continuing.
Donor nations pledged $455 million for an African force to help clear northern Mali of Islamist militants and the U.K. and Germany offered more support for the mission as Malian forces patrolled the streets of Timbuktu.
A “treasure” of ancient manuscripts in Mali’s historic city Timbuktu may have survived a fire caused by fighting between French troops and Islamist militants, according to the institute housing the documents.
French and Malian forces took control of the town of Diabaly and Douentza as soldiers from neighboring African countries continued to arrive to join the fight against rebels that control two-thirds of the nation.
French commandos airlifted eight people from the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Ivory Coast’s main city, Abidjan, late yesterday, after it was seized and looted by militiamen loyal to former leader Laurent Gbagbo , the French Defense Ministry said.