France Adds Troops to Mali War Amid Fear of More Rebel Offensives

Air Strikes Pound Central Mali Towns

by Jason Ditz, January 17, 2013

French warplanes continue to rely on airstrikes to hit towns in central Mali today as their ground troops continued to find themselves unable to force rebel fighters out of the key southern town of Diabaly.

Despite official confidence from French officials that they have stopped the rebel advance, the prospect of the rebels moving forces from Diabaly even deeper into southern Mali seems to be the primary focus today, as Malian junta troops poured into the town of Banama, just northeast of the capital city, on rumors that rebels were marching on the undefended town.

No attacks have hit Banama so far, but the rebels have shown themselves more than a match for the Malian military, and if the town falls they will have a straight shot of 90 miles to go before being able to attack the capital city of Bamako directly.

And while African group troops continue to trickle into the country, France continues to add troops of its own, apparently resigned to having to do most of the heavy lifting in the occupation for the next several months until the African forces are trained and armed. 600 more French troops arrived today, and another 1,000 are expected on top of that by next week.

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