►Source: FORCESFRANCAISES – https://www.youtube.com/user/FORCESFRANCAISES
The Northern Mali Conflict or Mali War refers to armed conflicts that started from January 2012 between the northern and southern parts of Mali in Africa. On 16 January 2012, several insurgent groups began fighting a campaign against the Malian government for independence or greater autonomy for northern Mali, an area known as Azawad. The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), an organization fighting to make Azawad an independent homeland for the Tuareg people, had taken control of the region by April 2012.
The government of Mali asked for foreign military help to re-take the north. On 11 January 2013, the French military began operations against the Islamists. Forces from other African Union states were deployed shortly after. By 8 February, the Islamist-held territory had been re-taken by the Malian military, with help from the international coalition. Tuareg separatists have continued to fight the Islamists as well, although the MNLA has also been accused of carrying out attacks against the Malian military.
On 10 January 2013, Islamist forces captured the strategic town of Konna, located 600 km from the capital, from the Malian army. Later, an estimated 1,200 Islamist fighters advanced to within 20 kilometers of Mopti, a nearby Mali military garrison town.
The following day, the French military launched Opération Serval, intervening in the conflict. According to analysts, the French were forced to act sooner than planned because of the importance of Sévaré military airport, located 60 km south of Konna, for further operations. The operation included the use of Gazelle helicopters from the Special forces, which stopped an Islamist column advancing to Mopti, and the use of four Mirage 2000-D jets of the Armée de l’Air operating from a base in Chad. 12 targets were hit by the Mirages during the night between the 11th and the 12th. The French chief of army staff, Édouard Guillaud, announced that the Islamists had withdrawn from Konna and retreated several dozen of kilometres into the north. The air strikes reportedly destroyed half a dozen Islamist armed pick-up trucks and a rebel command center. One French pilot, Lieutenant Damien Boiteux, was killed after his attack helicopter was downed by ground fire during the operation
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