SEGOU, MALI — Malian and French forces were reported to be in control of two important central Malian towns on Tuesday after the French Defense Ministry said they recaptured them on Monday, pushing back an advance by Islamist militants who have overrun the country’s northern half.
At the same time, the United States military said on Tuesday that it had begun airlifting French troops and equipment from a base in southern France to Bamako, the capital of Mali, aboard giant C-17 transport planes.
Two flights arrived on Monday and a third on Tuesday, and the airlift will continue for the next several days, Tom Saunders, a spokesman for the United States Africa Command, said in a telephone interview from the command’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, the defense minister of France, hailed the French-Malian advance on Monday as “a clear military success for the government in Bamako and for French forces intervening in support of these operations.”
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