News President Hollande - a frustratingly minimalist domestic reformer but a bold, global statesman

The French President has been criticised for his interventions in Mali and CAR but insists it is not old-fashioned paternalism but a mission to save lives

A Malian soldier trys to disperse looters in the streets of Timbuktu

Gamble for Africa: Mali mission sucks in 400 British troops

PM heads for Algeria as MPs warn conflict in region could drag on 'for years'

The ashes of priceless manuscripts, some of them up to 700 years old, burned by Jihadis in Mali’s fabled Timbuktu

'They tried to break the heart of Timbuktu': Mali comes to terms with the destruction of historic manuscripts by Islamists

Mali’s most storied city is in the final hours of its occupation by Jihadists who faced international condemnation and a powerful foreign expeditionary force closing in by land and air.

The News Matrix: Tuesday 29 January 2013

Sharon shows signs of brain activity

Editorial: Mali's lesson is that we still need the US

French and Mali government forces were on the point of taking back the city of Timbuktu from Islamist insurgents yesterday. The city's history, its resonant name and its strategic position all make its liberation the symbol of overall victory. France, which had promised a short, sharp intervention at the request of the beleaguered Mali government, will be able to claim success, and leave. With the French will go the limited assistance that Britain has given its ally: two transport planes; intelligence and logistical support; perhaps some special forces.

French soldiers flying back from Timbuktu, arrive at the French army base in Sevare, Mali, last night

Recaptured by moonlight, the fabled desert city where Islamists burned books in a bitter farewell

The recapture of Timbuktu was done by moonlight. More than 250 French troops parachuted down to the northern entrance of the fabled desert city, while an armoured column sealed the southern exit.

Helicopters return from Timbuktu

Ground forces backed by French paratroopers in Mali prepare to capture Timbuktu after taking control of airports and roads

Fall of Timbuktu will mark the end of an initial, lightning advance by French and Malian forces into territory overrun by Islamists

A refugee from the Gao region displaced by the fighting

Revealed: how French raid killed 12 Malian villagers

Witnesses describe the moment civilians fell victim to a helicopter attack

One-year-old Saida Jallo was thrown clear by the French bomb that killed his mother

Miracle of Konna: The baby boy who survived an air strike despite being on his mother's back when the bombs hit

Aminata Jallo had rushed out of her home in preparation for taking her children to a place of safety when the missile exploded near her. She was killed instantly, but her one-year-old son, Saida, whom she was carrying in a cradle on her back, was thrown clear.

French troops arrive at their Malian base camp in Sevare

France claims key stronghold in northern Mali

The northern town of Gao had been controlled by Movement for Oneness and Jihad for months

A Malian soldier armed with a machine gun

Malian soldiers accused of executing rebels

France defends allies but calls for troops to be kept 'under control' amid latest allegations

A French soldier wearing a skeleton mask in a street in Niono on Sunday

'We are not messengers of death in Mali', says French colonel

The French military has distanced itself from a photograph taken during its operations in Mali, after the image of a soldier with his face obscured by a menacing skull bandana went viral.

Tony Blair said that without intervention, Mali risks becoming a 'terrorist state'

UK should support France in Mali, says ex-PM Tony Blair

Tony Blair has called on the UK to do “everything we can” to support French military operations in Mali.

Malian soldiers in Diabaly, which is back in government control

After the bombs, Mali hunts for the enemy within

The hunt is on in Mali for fugitive rebels who have gone into hiding

Mali troops retake strategic town of Douentza

Malian forces have regained control of the strategic town that was under extreme Islamist rule for four months, as the French-led military intervention pushed northwards in its second week.

Algerian firemen carry a coffin containing one of the victims of the gas facility siege at the morgue in In Amenas yesterday

Terror in North Africa: are Westerners pulling the strings?

English-speaking jihadis seen in Mali, as a Canadian is reported to have co-ordinated Algeria attack

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