BAMAKO — Troops from Nigeria, Senegal and France were deployed in Mali on Jan. 11 supporting government forces in their offensive against Islamists in the country’s center, a Malian army officer said.
“As we speak to you, troops from Nigeria, Senegal and France are in support of the Malian army in Sevare” in central Mali, Col. Oumar Dao told a news conference in the capital, Bamako. “These troops arrived with the materiel needed to counter the situation,” said Dao, the head of military operations for the army’s chief of staff.
The move occurred as the Malian army on Jan. 11 launched a counter-offensive to recover the central town of Konna, which was captured Jan. 10 by the Islamists. He gave no details on the number of troops, or the quantity and type of materiel deployed.
“Other friendly countries have already come forward, and we are waiting for them,” Dao said without elaborating.
Discussing the situation in Konna, he said: “It’s the start of military operations. There’s an offensive, and we have put on our side the means needed to recapture the town.”
Earlier Jan. 11, another army officer told AFP that the counter-offensive was conducted from Sevare, a community about 70 kilometers south of Konna where the Malian army has an operational command post.