Malian soldiers find explosive stash in Gao

Associated Press
A Malian man dressed in green walks between green doors of closed shops in Gao, northern Mali, Tuesday Feb. 5, 2013.  Troops from France and Chad moved into Kidal in an effort to secure the strategic north Malian city, a French official said Tuesday, as the international force put further pressure on the Islamic extremists to push them out of their last major bastion of control in the north.(AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
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GAO, Mali (AP) — Malian soldiers have found a stash of industrial-strength explosives in the city of Gao that can be used to make roadside bombs.

The soldiers patrolling on foot Wednesday made the discovery after a local official alerted them to the scene.

An Associated Press reporting team also viewed the stash of Nitram 5, which had been hidden inside rice bags that were dumped in a small square with other garbage from the town.

The French-led mission quickly took control of the northern cities of Timbuktu and Gao after launching the intervention in Mali.

However, there have been concerns of a counterinsurgency in the weeks since, especially after four Malian soldiers were killed when a land mine went off near their vehicle.

France's defense minister said Wednesday that Islamist extremists had fired rocket launchers outside Gao.

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