Mali Conflict: Al-Qaeda Camp Dismantled by French troops in northern Mali / Africa News

The French defence minister has disclosed that its troops have dismantled a major al-Qaeda base at the remote Ifoghas Mountains in northern Mali.

Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said a very impressive arsenal of weapons had been recovered from the site in the Ametetai in the mountains.

Mr. Le Drian also said a French national fighting with the militants had been captured but did not give further details about him.

This latest success came amid France preparing to leave the combat mission in the country next month which President Hollande said in the Polish capital Warsaw.

“We knew this part of Mali was potentially the sanctuary of AQIM (al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb), and we weren’t wrong,” Mr. Lee Drian told Europe 1 radio from Mali.

Mr. Lee Drian was in Mali to inspect how French troops are doing with respect to the combat operation yesterday and he was personally taken to where the French troops captured the base in the mountains.

“We’re dealing with resolute and heavily-armed terrorists, who are engaging in significant fighting, and we have been able to inflict heavy damage on them from what I saw with myself’’, he said.

The troops recovered weapons including AK47s, grenade launchers and pick-ups hidden in natural caves which the militants use in their operations.

Local reporters also added that the French troops are continuing their search in the area as it might be possible that they could be further camps in the area.

Mr. Le Drian added that this shows that there had been established that there had been a kind of place, a terrorist war network, that could receive youngsters seeking a radical future, as some may have done in Afghanistan or Syria.

France currently has 4,000 troops in the West African state, having intervened militarily amid fears the rebels were preparing to advance on Bamako.

Mali’s army and troops from several African countries, including 2,000 from Chad, have also been involved in the fighting.

A coalition of Islamist and separatist rebels expanded their control of northern Mali a year ago after a military coup in Bamako.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News

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