Mali military welcomes UK's supporting role

I have spoken to people in the Malian military today who said they believe the UK's training support role will make a big difference, and here's why:

Everyone has been diplomatic saying that this was a west African operation that the French merely played a part in, the reality is that those governments were slow to get to Mali and they were ineffective at times.

When the French came in less than three weeks ago, they stormed through the place and they have taken almost every major town.

One British official said last week that it would take up to two months for Timbuktu to fall but it fell just two days after his comments.

The French know they cannot stay here forever but there is a sense that some of the west African forces are ill-equipped to do this extraordinary job of containing the jihadist threat which the French believe not only affects the region but Europe too.

Advertisement

French president in Mali visit

There was a hero's welcome for France's President Hollande when he arrived in Timbuktu. He was visiting the desert city in Mali, after its recapture from Islamic extremists.