France is planning to triple the number of its soldiers fighting anti-government militants in the West African nation of Mali.
“There will be a gradual build-up [in the number of French troops in Mali] to a figure of 2,500,” said a source close to Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Tuesday.
The announcement of France’s plans to increase the number of troops in Mali comes after French President Francois Hollande said there were currently 750 soldiers in the West African country.
During a visit to a French military base in the United Arab Emirates, Hollande had also announced a rise in the number of French troops in Mali, describing the overnight air raids against the fighters in Mali as successful.
On Sunday, French fighter jets pounded rebel bases in the cities of Gao and Kidal in northern Mali. A number of militants were reportedly killed.
According to reports, French warplanes also launched an attack on the rebels’ stockpiles of munitions and fuel in the town of Afhabo, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Kidal.
Earlier on Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council expressed support for France’s military intervention in Mali.
The US has also voiced its support, offering to assist France in its bombing campaign.
Chaos broke out in the African country after Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup in response to the government’s inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country, which had been going on for two months.
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