Another story about French re-taking GAOMali: French-led troops retake Gao from Islamists
French-led troops have recaptured the Islamist stronghold of Gao in a spectacular boost to a 16-day-old offensive against Al Qaeda-linked rebels holding Mali's vast desert north.
The seizure of Gao, the most populated town in Mali's northern region which is roughly the size of Texas, was announced by the French defence ministry on Saturday evening and confirmed by Malian security sources.
Paris said troops from Niger and Chad "will pick up the baton" and that the town's mayor Sadou Diallo would arrive in Gao from the capital Bamako later on Saturday.
"A first contingent of Malian, Chadian and Nigerien troops are presently in Gao to help secure the town," a Malian security source told AFP by telephone from the town.
In a parallel pincer-like movement, troops from Chad and Niger moved towards the Malian border from the Niger town of Ouallam, which lies about 60 miles southeast of Gao.
[link to www.telegraph.co.uk