Bamako, 3 Rabiul Awwal 1434/ 15 January 2013 (Anadolu Agency/MINA) – French war planes hit multiple targets in northern Mali in a bid to prevent armed groups in the region from further advancing towards the country’s capital, Bamako on Sunday.

       French Mirage jets reportedly destroyed military vehicles used by Ansar Dine and Tawhid and Jihad groups in Konna, Gao, Douentza, Nambala and Lere cities in the third day of the intervention by France which has more than 550 air and ground troops in the western African country.    

      Officers from the Malian army have said the French air strikes were aimed at cutting off armed groups’ fuel and logistic support with one Malian general saying that the groups had suffered huge losses in Konna and withdrew from the region.

        Ground troops from Nigeria, Senegal, Niger, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin are expected to arrive in Mali on Monday and Tuesday as part of a UN-authorized African intervention to crush armed groups which gained control in Mali’s north taking advantage of a power vacuum after a military takeover last March.       

        Ammar Diakty, mayor of Dialloube town northwest of Konna has said Ansar Dine rebels withdrew towards Mauritanian border following heavy French bombardment in Lere, which he said was under the control of Malian army forces.      

        In a related development, the United Nations Security Council, over a call by France, was expected to convene on Monday to asses the situation in Mali, Brieuc Pont, a spokesman with French permanent representation at the UN, said in his Twitter account.  (T.R-014/R-006)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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