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article imageMali — Gao faces down attack by Islamist militants

By Paul Iddon     Mar 24, 2013 in World
The Mali town of Gao which was liberated by the French Army last January has once again come under attack by Islamist rebels currently fighting against the Malian government.
These rebel forces were forced out of the town after two hours of fighting with the Malian army. According to one Malian army official these forces had managed to avoid army checkpoints and entered the town. The Malian Army forces in the area where alerted by residents shortly after and engaged these militants in fierce fighting.
The Mayor of the town Sadou Diallo said the militants retreated following their engagement with the Malian military. He explained that, "There was heavy gunfire. The situation is under control now. The Islamists entered via Quatrieme Quartier, and the army went to meet them and was able to push them back. There is another group that entered via the river, but they too were pushed back. It's under control."
As of writing there has been no death toll released pertaining to this skirmish in Gao. (The Washington Post, March 24 2013)
Gao had previously been occupied by such Islamists -- the particular group was called the Mujao -- for several months in 2012 until they were driven out by French military forces who intervened on the side of the Malian government in order to help it consolidate control over the country. France at present still has about 4,000 troops on the ground in Mali. It plans to withdraw them next month in the run-up to elections that are scheduled for July. (BBC News, March 24 2013)
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