Malian: Rebels hide from the French and then return

French forces have encountered very little resistance from Islamist rebels during their operation in Mali, and there are questions over their whereabouts.

Abdoulaye Dicko from the Malian town of Boni spoke to The Guardian about one group of rebels' return after fleeing temporarily.

He said: "The rebels didn't ever leave. They are still living in caves or in the forest, not far from Boni".

French troops are greeted by Malian as they arrive in Timbuktu
French troops are greeted by Malian as they arrive in Timbuktu Credit: Reuters/Arnaud Roine/ECPAD/Hando

"When the French army drove past we all cheered and waved, shouting: 'Vive la France.' But the French didn't stop. And then a few days later, on Monday night, five of them came back and shot me. They also shot my wife and my daughter."

Mr Dicko's wife and daughter survived the attack and are also recovering in hospital.

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