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This Saturday, French troops captured the Malian town of Diabaly from the Islamist rebels who had taken control of the town just five days earlier. No civilians were killed in the French airstrikes.
Diabaly resident, Barnade Dakou’s trucks were destroyed during the French attacks, but he remains unangered. Dakou says, “If we were not bombed, [the militants] would have killed all of us and they would have stayed in Diabaly."
According to the Washington Post, most residents of Dakou prefer that the French remain in the area. There are rumors that the Islamists are hiding in the forest nearby.
Before the positive reaction of people like Dakou to the French military offensive against the militants, there were worries that the Malian civilian population would take the French military aid as a sign of colonialism.
France is taking bigger steps to secure the future of its former colony. Reuters reports that next week, a donor conference will ask for nearly $452 million in aid for the training and deployment of African troops.
France plans to hand over operations in Mali to a UN-mandated African mission (AFISMA). Until AFISMA is ready to operate, France will continue its military campaign. So far, France has conducted 140 rounds of bombing and deployed over 2,000 troops.
The Islamist rebels in Mali have a stronghold in the northern part of the country. The French incursion is in response to rebel attempts to spread their anti-Christian and anti-American roots further to the south.