France to send extra troops to Mali

Paris - France is sending an extra 100 troops to Mali after an outbreak of violence this week in the north of the country between government forces and Tuareg separatists, an army spokesman said on Wednesday.

Malian Tuareg soldiers loyal to El-Hadj Gamou listen during a visit by Mali's army chief of staff in Kidal. File picture: Rebecca Blackwell. Credit: Associated Press

Machine gun and heavy weapons fire broke out again on Wednesday in Kidal following clashes at the weekend which killed at least eight Malian soldiers and eight civilians including six government officials.

“The decision has been taken to bring forces from Abidjan to Gao given the current period of tension,” spokesman Gilles Jaron told reporters.

He said about 100 soldiers were being sent which would take French troop numbers to 1 700 in its former colony.

Paris on Tuesday delayed plans to redeploy 3 000 soldiers to fight militants across Africa's Sahel region, saying it first needed to help deal with the violence in northern Mali. - Reuters