US Congressmen in Mali on fact-finding mission

Associated Press

TIMBUKTU, Mali (AP) — A delegation of U.S. lawmakers toured the capital of Mali Monday in a fact-finding mission, weeks after France launched a military intervention to wrest back control of the country's north from the al-Qaida linked groups occupying it.

The four legislators are led by Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa issues. After meeting with French military officials, Coons said the French appear confident in the success of their intervention. However, he urged caution in light of the back-to-back suicide attacks in the city of Gao.

He said: "It suggests a level of jihadist militancy that doesn't reflect the confidence that I heard from the French — that the jihadists are not from here, are not supported here, and have been driven away."

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