Skip to main content

French troops kill 'hundreds' of Islamist fighters in Mali

From Antonia Mortensen, CNN
updated 1:05 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Malian soldiers transport in a pickup truck a dozen suspected Islamist rebels on Friday, February 8, after arresting them north of Gao. A suicide bomber blew himself up on February 8 near a group of Malian soldiers in the northern city, where Islamist rebels driven from the town have resorted to guerilla attacks. Malian soldiers transport in a pickup truck a dozen suspected Islamist rebels on Friday, February 8, after arresting them north of Gao. A suicide bomber blew himself up on February 8 near a group of Malian soldiers in the northern city, where Islamist rebels driven from the town have resorted to guerilla attacks.
HIDE CAPTION
Photos: Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Photos: Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Photos: Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
Mali military battles Islamist insurgents
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • France launched an offensive last month against militants in its former colony
  • It says it has 4,000 French soldiers in Mali
  • French troops are fighting alongside nearly 3,800 African soldiers

Read a version of this story in Arabic.

(CNN) -- A monthlong French offensive has killed "hundreds" of Islamist fighters in Mali, the French defense minister said, as his troops prepare to start withdrawing next month.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian gave the number of casualties to CNN affiliate BFM on Tuesday night. He did not offer additional details.

Read more: French leader makes jubilant trip to Mali

Hours earlier, France told the local Metro newspaper that it expects to begin withdrawing its troops out of Mali in March and leave African forces in control.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said despite the withdrawal, troops will continue operations to flush out militants in "some terrorist havens" in northern Mali.

France reports success in Mali fight
Somalia's President on 'arc of terror'
A road to recovery in Mali?

At Mali's request, France launched the offensive against militants in its former colony last month. The ground-and-air campaign has sent Islamist fighters who had seized the northern region fleeing into the vast desert.

French President Francois Hollande visited Timbuktu last week, just days after French forces had freed the fabled city from Islamist militants.

Read more: Six reasons events in Mali matter

French-led troops now control Timbuktu and the city of Gao, along with a swath in between the two that was an Islamist stronghold for almost a year.

Troops are working to secure Kindal, the last major city under the grip of militants.

Over the past two days, sandstorms have hampered operations across the country.

Read more: Should we still fear al Qaeda?

Islamic extremists carved out a large portion of the north last year after a chaotic military coup.

They banned music, smoking, drinking and watching sports on television, and destroyed historic tombs and shrines in the region. World leaders feared that the al Qaeda-linked militants would turn the area into a terrorist haven.

France says it has 4,000 soldiers in Mali. Its troops are fighting alongside nearly 3,800 African soldiers, it said, a number expected to go up.

Read more: What's behind the instability in Mali?

CNN's Pierre Meilhan contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Conflict in Mali
updated 1:02 PM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
Restoring territorial integrity of Mali is more than bombing Islamist hideouts.
updated 10:38 AM EST, Wed January 16, 2013
The world is responding to an uprising of Islamist militants, hoping to inject stability in a country once hailed as a model for democracy in Africa.
updated 5:51 PM EST, Thu January 24, 2013
Nima Elbagir talks with victims of war and displaced people from Gao now living in Mali's capital.
updated 6:20 AM EST, Thu January 17, 2013
After intense airstrikes against rebel strongholds, French ground forces are moving north to try to dislodge the fighters.
updated 1:01 PM EDT, Wed March 13, 2013
Residents of Gao, Mali, celebrate their town's liberation from rebel rule.
updated 10:40 AM EST, Mon January 28, 2013
Sankore mosque, built in 15th-16th centuries , Timbuktu city, Timbuktu region, Mali.
The offensive against Islamist militants gained further ground as French and Malian forces reportedly took control of the airport in ancient Timbuktu.
updated 1:27 PM EST, Tue January 15, 2013
France intervenes according to doctrine and the pragmatic parameters of circumstance, says the president of the Institut des Ameriques.
updated 6:07 PM EST, Mon January 14, 2013
CNN's Nima Elbagir reports on the conflict in Mali, how the country got to this point and what the international reaction means.
updated 5:36 AM EDT, Fri July 27, 2012
Islamic radicals linked to al Qaeda have seized northern Mali, and there are widespread concerns that the region could soon become a terrorist haven.
updated 10:25 PM EST, Fri January 25, 2013
Erin Burnett discusses al Qaeda involvement in the Algeria attack and how the U.S. will deal them in northern Africa.
updated 8:10 AM EST, Mon January 28, 2013
The United States is intensifying its involvement in Mali, where local and French forces are battling Islamic militants.
updated 7:33 PM EST, Mon January 14, 2013
CNN's Erin Burnett reports on the situation in northern Mali and its consequences for U.S. homeland security. Watch to find out more.
updated 5:08 PM EST, Sat January 12, 2013
French troops face fierce combat against Islamist militants in Mali and in Somalia during a failed rescue attempt.
updated 10:15 PM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
As Mali military braces against Islamist insurgents and French military strikes targeted Islamist rebels, both sides are determined to win.
updated 6:13 AM EDT, Wed July 4, 2012
Islamist militants destroying an ancient shrine in Timbuktu on July 1, 2012.
The Old Mostar Bridge, the Buddhas of Bamiyan, and now the Timbuktu. Once again, culture is under attack, UNESCO's Irina Bokova writes.
updated 2:03 PM EST, Sun November 11, 2012
African leaders hold an emergency summit to discuss plans to rid Mali of Islamic extremists accused of atrocities.
ADVERTISEMENT