Malian soldiers jubilate as they return to Niono, from Diabaly, some 400 kms (300 miles) North of the capital Bamako, Saturday Jan. 19, 2013. French troops encircled a key Malian town on Friday, trying to stop radical Islamists from striking against communities closer to the capital and cutting off their supply line, a French official said. The move around Diabaly came as French and Malian authorities said that the city whose capture prompted the French military intervention in the first place was no longer in the hands of the extremists.

Jerome Delay, Associated Press - Ap

Islamists flee Malian town after French airstrikes

  • Associated Press
  • January 20, 2013 - 4:59 AM

BAMAKO, Mali - Video from a Malian town which radical Islamists fled after days of French airstrikes shows the street dotted with burned out vehicles and scattered bullets.

The central town of Diabaly remained calm Sunday, a day after it came back under government control.

The Associated Press obtained video filmed by a local resident, which shows people from the town inspecting the fighters' vehicles and charred weaponry which had been destroyed by French airstrikes and Malian ground forces.

Malian military spokesman Capt. Modibo Traore said Saturday evening that soldiers had secured the town.

The departure of the Islamists from Diabaly marks a success for the French-led military intervention that began Jan. 11 to oust the Islamists.

They first took control of the north nine months ago after a coup.

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