Troops head to Mali, as battle for north rages
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The first days of the battle against Islamic extremists holding Mali's north have left at least 11 civilians dead, including three children who threw themselves into a river and drowned trying to avoid falling bombs, a presidential spokesman said Sunday as troops from Mali's neighbors are expected to join hundreds of French soldiers in the fight.
Niger, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Nigeria agreed on Saturday to send soldiers, a day after France authorized airstrikes, dispatching fighter jets from neighboring Chad and bombing rebel positions north of Mopti, the last Malian-controlled town.
State television announced that the African troops, including as many as 500 each from Burkina Faso and Niger, are expected to begin arriving on Sunday. Britain has offered the use of its transport planes in order to help bring in the soldiers, according to a statement released by Prime Minister David Cameron's office in London.
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