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France boosts Mali troop numbers

France has increased its troop strength in Mali to 1,400 to help fight militant Islamists in the north, the French defence minister has said.

France said it launched military action in its former colony last Friday to stop it becoming a "terrorist state" after a rapid advance by the Islamists.

French and Malian forces have been engaged in heavy fighting with rebels around the towns of Diabaly and Konna.

Mark Doyle reports from Bamako, and says the situation in those towns, up to 700 km away, is unclear.

  • 18 Jan 2013
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