Fri, Feb 08, 2013 - Page 7 News List

France seeks UN troops as Mali rebels hit back

REACHING OUT:UN groups are struggling to gain access into northern Mali, where landmines and rebels pose a security risk and 500,000 people face hunger

AFP, GAO, Mali

France now has as many troops in Mali as it had at the peak of its deployment in Afghanistan in 2010.

French fighter jets continue to pound the area around the Adrar des Ifoghas massif in the far northeast, a craggy mountain landscape honeycombed with caves where the insurgents are believed to have fled with seven French hostages.

Mali has effusively welcomed the reclaiming of its northern territory, but the national mood took a downward turn when the national football team lost the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday.

“A semi-final victory could have distracted us a little bit from this war,” an agitated Diakari Dia, 21, said in the capital.

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