- Title: MALI: Ordinary Malians ask French for help even after the war
- Date: 22nd January 2013
- Summary: NEWSPAPER HEADLINE READING (French): "THE ASSAULT ON GAO AND TIMBUKTU TAKES SHAPE" NEWSPAPERS NEWSPAPER HEADLINE READING (French): "KONNA FINALLY RETAKEN BY MALIAN ARMY SUPPORTED BY FRENCH SOLDIERS"
- Embargoed: 6th February 2013 12:00
- Location: Mali
- Country: Mali
- Topics: International Relations,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA6LTL08EA6I9CG2TRPPS5HUGVL
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Malians call on French to continue their influence in the country to help recovery after the war.
Malians in Bamako called on the French on Tuesday (January 22) to stay on in the country even after the end of the military operation against Islamist rebels, to help oversee a smooth transition to peace and stability.
France, which launched air strikes in Mali 11 days ago to halt a surprise Islamist offensive toward the capital Bamako, has urged a swift deployment of the U.N.-mandated African force to back up its 2,150-strong ground forces already there.
Newspapers headlines reported the progress made by the French military as Gao, the largest city of Mali's north, has been hit by French air strikes in recent days.
France says its troops will remain in Mali until they have completely dislodged the Islamist fighters from the north, amid concerns that the militants could use the vast desert area to launch terrorist attacks on the West and on neighbouring African countries.
Bamako residents said they were hoping the military operation would bring back security and stability to the country and that the French would stay on till it was achieved.
"Today what we expect is to have more stability, security and peace, and then development for Mali," said Alain.
"What we expect is that after this war France helps us get the administration back on its feet, because without that nothing will work. Because there are people who are very bad, we must be wary of them so we need the French to put the administration back on its feet before they leave," said Mohamed.
Fears of a wider security threat from al Qaeda and its local allies in North and West Africa have increased sharply following a raid last week on a gas plant in Algeria by Islamist fighters. At least 37 foreign hostages were killed in the raid and its aftermath, when Algerian forces stormed the installation.
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