Malian military enters contested city of Kidal

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Associated Press

Posted on July 6, 2013 at 1:03 AM

Updated Saturday, Jul 6 at 1:04 AM

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A military spokesman said that Mali's army had entered the contested city of Kidal, the last major town that was in rebel hands following a French-led military operation earlier this year to oust the al-Qaida-linked fighters which had occupied northern Mali.

Lt. Col. Souleymane Maiga said Malian soldiers entered Kidal around 5 p.m. local time Friday, and headed for Camp 1, a military installation inside the city. They were accompanied by French soldiers, just as they were when they entered the north's two other main — Gao and Timbuktu — which were liberated in January.

Kidal had become a de facto Tuareg state, ruled by Tuareg rebels. They recently signed an agreement with the Malian government paving the way for Friday's return.

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