French troops entered the African country of Mali on January 12. Within days the UK announced that it would be sending two planes to assist French forces. They would only offer logistical support and there would be no 'boots on the ground'.
Islamic extremists, in control of northern Mali, are becoming increasingly more brutal in their treatment of the local population. Women are being targeted. This week a Malian woman was sentenced to receive 100 lashes for giving water to a male visitor.
Islamic extremists have now wrecked seven historic shrines in the ancient trading town of Timbuktu. The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor has now warned the Salafists to stop their destruction, calling it a war crime.
Residents of towns in northern Mali are attempting to flee as Islamists from the militant group Ansar al-Din impose strict sharia law. The group has demanded women wear veils and not appear in public with men.