French soldiers from the 21st Rima prepare a AA52 machine gun, near the Malian army 101 airbase, where French troops are stationed, on January 18, 2013, near Bamako. France now has 1,800 troops on the ground in Mali, inching closer to the goal of 2,500 it plans to deploy in its African former colony, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said today. That was 400 more than a day earlier, said the minister as he met with French special forces in the western port of Lorient. The troops have been sent to help the Malian army regain control of the north from Islamist groups. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
18 Jan 2013
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