BAMAKO, Mali — Mali’s army Monday took back control of Diabaly from insurgents who occupied the town, the second recaptured since the start of French strikes on the West African nation 10 days ago.
Malian soldiers entered the town “with the support of French troops,” army spokesman Colonel Diarran Kone, said by phone from the capital, Bamako.
Diabaly is 400 kilometers (250 miles) from the city, and was the southern-most point held by militant Islamists. They overran the town earlier this month, prompting the start of the airstrikes.
French and Malian forces have been battling the fighters, mainly militants seeking to impose a strict version of Islamic law on the region, after they surged toward the capital, taking towns including Diabaly and Kona.
On Jan. 18, French military spokesman Thierry Burkhard said Kona was under control of Mali’s troops.
The seizure of Diabaly comes as Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, chairman of the Economic Community of West African States Commission, landed in Bamako Monday, ECOWAS spokesman Mamadou Amat said by phone.
He will meet the leaders of African troops that are being deployed to aid the French and Malian effort to push back the militants, Amat said.
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