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Malian army retakes town while rebels destroy strategic bridge
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2013-01-25 21:05

The Malian army and French forces have driven the Islamic extremist rebels further to the north by taking over the town of Hombori along the way to the rebels' stronghold of the city of Gao on the night between Wednesday and Thursday, security sources said Friday.

Hombori is located around 200 kilometers from Gao, one of the three main cities held by the rebels since last April, taking advantage of the chaotic aftermath of a military coup in the West African nation.

The Malian forces, backed by French troops, have retaken several towns in the central to northern region of the country from the rebels in the last week or so.

Meanwhile, the rebel fighters, backed by al-Quida, have continued their fierce resistance. It was reported that they have destroyed a strategic bridge, the Tassiga bridge, near the Niger border on the road to Gao, preventing forces from coming from Niger or going to Gao.

The town of Tassiga is about 60 kilometers to the Niger border. It is a bridge that the 2,000 Chadian soldiers and the 500 Nigerien troops planned to come through to the Mali battles in reenforcing a regional coalition force.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is expected to send a contingent of 3,300 troops to its member state Mali. Other member states that pledged to dispatch troops to Mali include Nigeria, 900 soldiers, Togo and Senegal, 500 soldiers each, as well as Benin 300.

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