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Local sources: French troops at Kidal airport, northern Mali

Last modified: 30 Jan 2013 04:05

French troops have taken up position at the airport in Kidal, local sources said on Wednesday, the third major city in northern Mali after Gao and Timbuktu.

"A French plane landed on the runway at Kidal aerodrome," said a senior local official, who also reported seeing helicopters.

"They have taken up position around the aerodrome," he added.

His account was confirmed by a regional security source.

"We confirm that French aircraft are on the Kidal landing strip and that protection helicopters are in the sky," said the source.

A senior Tuareg figure in Kidal also confirmed the report, as did a spokesperson for the Islamic Movement of Azawad, which recently said it had taken control of Kidal.

"The French have in fact taken up positions" on the landing strip, said the spokesperson. "Our leader is currently talking with them," he added.

[Source: AFP]