French forces say they have entered the northern Malian town of Kidal after taking over the airport.
There are no signs of Islamists and two different groups say they are talking with the French.
Kidal is the last urban bastion that had been in Islamist hands. The Islamic Movement of Azawad (IMA), a breakaway group from the Islamist Ansar Dine movement, says it rejects terrorism and claims to hold the town with Tuareg rebels.
The secular National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), which backs the rights of Mali’s Tuareg minority, also claims to have held talks with the French.
Both groups do not want to see Malian troops in Kidal, fearing reprisals against Arab and Tuareg communities.
The Islamist militants are thought to have taken refuge in the northern mountains.
In Timbuktu, recently liberated by French and Malian forces, most precious Islamic manuscripts that had been feared destroyed are now thought to have been saved. They were reportedly hidden from Islamists before their arrival, or had been taken to the capital Bamako.
People in Timbuktu have been making their most of their new re-found freedom after suffering Islamist repression, some singing and dancing in the streets.
“Normal life can begin again, life as we knew it before, with art and our traditional music,” smiled one woman.
A man walzed as he sang a song he said he had written as a tribute to French President François Hollande.
The Islamists not only banned music, they also destoyed telecommunications equipment, supposedly because people could hear music on their mobiles.
But although shops are open and are again freely selling phones and other goods, tensions remain.
On Tuesday in Timbuktu hundreds of people, described as visibly poor, attacked stores whose owners they accused of being “Arabs”, “Algerians” or “Mauritanians” who had supported the Islamists.
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1South Korea: Dramatic amateur footage emerges of final moments before stricken ferry capsizes
- 2Ukraine: US, Russia and EU strike deal after crisis talks
- 3Scientists find new Earth-sized planet that could host life
- 4Geneva talks defy predictions of failure but will words turn into actions?
- 5A mother’s slap signals mercy for a convicted Iranian murderer
- 1Ukrainian troops allegedly desert to join pro-Russian forces in Slavyansk
- 2As it happened : Kyiv and Moscow reach agreement on de-escalation roadmap
- 3‘Rubbish’: Putin slams claims that Russia is behind Ukraine revolt
- 4Pro-Russian activists seize Ukraine armoured vehicles
- 5Pictures and videos of April 15 lunar “Blood Moon” eclipse
Wires > News
- 20:07 CET Brazilian tycoon Batista investigated for financial crimes -reports
- 19:56 CET Pakistani police arrest 6 suspected militant assassins
- 19:49 CET Erdogan challenges social media in top Turkish court
- 19:17 CET Bomb blast kills 14 at mosque in Syria’s Homs – state TV
- 19:17 CET Besieged Muslims face murder, starvation in Central African…
- 19:02 CET Mega salaries are evil, papal preacher tells Good Friday service
- 18:45 CET Bahraini man dies two months after being shot by police – family
- 18:44 CET Algeria’s Bouteflika wins re-election with 81.5 percent – official…