France will not remain in Mali - Hollande

France will not remain in Mali - Hollande

France will not remain in Mali - Hollande

France does not intend to remain in Mali after achieving victory over the separatists according to a statement by French President Francois Hollande.

The French military is currently in Mali to help the Malian army regain control over the country and will pass the baton to forces from neighboring African states.

Hollande hailed the "courage and effectiveness" of the French soldiers who, in a short time, have managed to stop advancing terrorists, inflict upon them serious damage with the help of air strikes and with the Malian army secure the release of the major cities of Mali.

The French President stressed that it was an extremely complex operation whose purpose was not only the destruction of the terrorists, but also to preserve the lives of civilians.

Timbuktu retaken from rebels

In Mali, the joint forces made up of the Malian army and French troops involved in counter-terrorism operations, are celebrating their latest tactical success.

On Monday they freed the city of Timbuktu, 900 kilometers north of the capital Bamako. The city has been under the control of militants and radical groups since last spring.

Timbuktu, according to statements by representatives of the army, "was taken without a shot being fired and with no resistance." The insurgents chose to leave the city and not to engage in combat with the French-Malian joint forces.

As the insurgents retreated they set fire to a store of unique documents at the Ahmed Baba Institute, where there had been tens of thousands of ancient manuscripts.

According to eyewitness reports, the military was met by joyous crowds of local residents, who had for many months been forced to live under the control of Islamists, who were attempting to introduce very strict standards of public behavior.

Last March, the entire north and northeast of Mali was seized by armed separatists and Islamic radicals.