The French troops advancing to Mali’s Timbuktu had captured a string of other towns from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), an al-Qaeda linked group that captured the town April last year. French Air Strikes attacked the home of the Al-Qaeda town overnight and have seized the city of Gao in their ongoing campaign against the Mali terrorists.
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that the troops continued to advance to Timbuktu and Gao is the biggest of six towns seized by the French troops since January 11. On Sunday, along with the capture of Gao, the French troops also destroyed the home of Ansar Dine Chief Iyad Ag Ghaly during the air raids in the Islamist bases of Kidal.
The capture of Mali’s towns by the rebels were a result of a previous coup attempt in April last year in Bamako. Tuareg rebels who wanted to have an independent homeland seized the towns, Kidal first then Gao and Timbuktu. The Islamists joined their cause, and imposed a harsh version of Sharia law comparable to the Taliban’s laws, including banning smoking and music, and having women wear veils.
Citizens of Mali were confident in the French and Mali troop efforts to free the remaining towns. In anguish, they recalled the rebels looting and destroying the mausoleums of saints and amputated people who committed petty crimes such as stealing.
Source: Pakistan Today