France says 1,000 African troops now in Mali to take part in French-led mission

Associated Press

SEGOU, Mali - France says there are now about 1,000 African troops in Mali to take part in the military intervention to dislodge Islamic militants from power.

Col. Thierry Burkhard, the French military spokesman, says the soldiers come from Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Niger and Chad.

France has 2,150 forces in Mali, and has received logistical support from Western allies and intelligence from the United States.

But the French ultimately hope that West African soldiers will take the lead alongside Malian troops in securing the country, a former French colony.

Neighbouring African countries are expected to contribute around 3,000 troops but concerns about the mission have delayed some from sending their promised troops.

France launched its operation Jan. 11, a day after the Islamists ventured south from their strongholds and seized a town.

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