Mali deploys military police to protect civilians in Gao and Timbuktu
Last Updated:2013-01-28 15:42 | Xinhua
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After the deployment by air of the military police to Gao on Sunday morning, two additional units comprised of 400 officers are expected to be deployed Sunday evening to protect people and their properties in Gao and Timbuktu in northern Mali, a security source has said.

The mission of the military police is to prevent any form of abuses and violence against the civilian population.

In this regard, a meeting between Mali's defense minister and his internal security counterpart, will be held on Monday in Bamako to define the rules of engagement of the national police on the ground.

On Sunday morning, a French fighter jet bombarded the mansion of the leader of Ansar Dine movement, Iyad Ag Agaly, and later it also bombarded the number 2 camp in Kidal which has been serving as the logistical base for the rebels.

It is reported that the French and Malian troops have reached Timbuktu Saturday evening without encountering any resistance from the rebels at the city, a desert trading center occupied by the rebels last year. The French and Malian forces have seized Gao, another strategic town, and several other smaller towns in northern Mali in their two-week or so battle against the rebel groups which were believed under the influence of al-Quaida.

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