Multinational African force to join France in Mali

The regional African ECOWAS resolves to join the French mission in support of the Mali army’s campaign to drive al Qaeda-linked rebels out of the north. French president Francois Hollande said Sunday, after declaring a nationwide terror alert in France, “"We've already held back the progress of our adversaries and inflicted heavy losses on them…Our mission is not over yet.” A French pilot was killed Saturday when his helicopter was shot down. More than 100 people, both rebel and government troops, were killed Saturday – most in the army’s re-conquest of the key town of Konna with French support. Cote d'Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara, ECOS chairman, has decided to deploy some 3,300 African soldiers, starting Monday. The multinational force is expected to be headed by Nigerian Maj. Gen. Shehu Abdulkadir. Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal each offer 500 soldiers. Al Qaeda has threatened to execute at least eight hostages unless France ends its military intervention in Mali and Somalia.
Britain is sending two transport planes, believed to be C-17s, to be deployed in Mali within 24-48 hours and Washington is considering intelligence-sharing and logistical aid.


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