African Troops to Deploy to Mali

    Malian people wave to French soldiers as a convoy of armoured vehicles leave Bamako and start a deployment to the north of Mali as part of the "Serval" operations on January 15, 2013. France is using air and ground power in a joint offensive with Malian soldiers launched on January 11 against hardline Islamist groups controlling northern Mali. AFP PHOTO /ERIC FEFERBERG        (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

    Malians greet French soldiers on Tuesday. (Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty)

    French troops advanced on the ground toward the northern region of Mali on Wednesday, one day after France’s prime minister said African forces are set to deploy to the troubled Islamic nation “within a week.” Six days after France began airstrikes against Islamic militants and at least partially halted their advance toward the capital, Bamako, the rebels hunkered down in the strategic town of Diabaly, which remained under the rebels’ control. West African army chiefs met in Bamako on Tuesday to plan out the deployment of some 3,300 troops as part of a United Nations–backed intervention.

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