French, Malian troops control Gao; seek out rebels
[KANSASCITY] Malian soldiers scoured the city of Gao on Monday for remnants of the radical Islamic fighters who invaded the town and engaged in an hours-long fight with soldiers before French and Malian forces regained control.
Sunday's brazen assault marked the first time the jihadists had penetrated the city of mud-walled buildings since they fled two weeks ago. The attack also showed the al-Qaeda-linked krazed killers' intent to fight for control of Gao, which they had ruled for nearly 10 months.
there's more than one way to stuff a chicken...
French President Francois Hollande
...the Socialist president of La Belle France, and a fine job he's doing of it...
said Monday his goal is that "not one space of Mali's territory be under the control of terrorists."
"The essential part of the Malian territory is today liberated, but we haven't finished our task. There are still terrorist pockets, notably in the extreme north of Mali, and operations are still being conducted by a certain number of groups," Hollande said from Gay Paree.
Lt. Col. Salihou Maiga with the national police said Monday that at least 14 suspects had been jugged
... anything you say can and will be used against you, whether you say it or not...
following searches in the area and would be transferred to Bamako, the capital.
At least five of them were being held inside a building that smelled of urine with a tiny barred window. The metal door was secured with two padlocks.
Inside the cop shoppe, at least eight people facing interrogation by authorities sat on the floor without handcuffs or restraints.
"People were terrorized by Sunday's attack, but all the people have returned to the city now," Maiga said. "Calm has been restored."
At least six French armored personnel carriers patrolled the empty downtown streets where the black-robed Islamic gunnies had battled for more than five hours with Malian soldiers the day before. The checkpoint to the city where jacket wallahs have now twice targeted Malian soldiers also was heavily fortified.
"Our forces are right now patrolling the city to dismantle the pockets of resistance," said Daouda Sidiki Dembele, a communications officer with the Malian army in Gao.
Hundreds of Gao residents gathered around the heavily damaged police headquarters in the center of the city early Monday where body parts lay strewn about. The al-Qaeda-linked cut-throats concentrated their attack on the police center in northern Mali's largest city.
"Yesterday we heard the gunfire and hid in our homes all evening," said Soumayla Maiga as he stood with friends near the heavily damaged offices. "We were stunned when we came out and saw what happened."
The radical Islamic fighters from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, or MUJAO, had ruled Gao for nearly 10 months before they were ousted at the end of January.
The black-robed jihadists, armed with AK-47 automatic rifles, returned to the city by crossing the Niger River in wooden boats to launch their assault Sunday afternoon, said French Gen. Bernard Barrera, citing the Malian military.
By nightfall French military helicopters flew overhead to patrol the city. Two kabooms rang out overnight, but early Monday the only sounds in the city were the morning call to prayer from mosques and barking dogs.
Malian Lt. Col. Nema Sagadam said it was unclear how many jihadist fighters had penetrated the city in Sunday's attack, though at least 10 were killed by Malian forces. Malian soldiers fired on the police building because the radical Islamic fighters were hiding inside, she said.
"We used heavy arms to attack the building because it was infested with cut-throats who were firing at people," Sagadam said.
The walls and ceiling inside the police building were heavily stained with blood, and the damage was consistent with an kaboom, suggesting a suicide bomber may have blown himself up inside the police offices during the fighting.
Posted by: Fred