The French led intervention into Mali did not conclude with the liberation of Timbuktu and the triumphant arrival of President Hollande, but rather with the arrival of two thousand Chadian soldiers, the conflict has seen some of its fiercest ground battles over the past weekend.
With the Al-Qaeda allied rebels removed from urban centers and forced across the Sahara, French and Chadian forces have focused on capturing caches of ammunition's and targeting the rebels in an area the equivalent of France, while resisting rebel attacks on their former strongholds, such as Gao.
|The fighting has shifted from urban centers and deep into the Sahara|
Over the weekend Chadian forces assaulted a rebel base of "significant importance," so said one senior commander, at the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains near the Algerian border with great success, as nearly a hundred rebels were confirmed killed in the battle, although at the cost of twenty-three soldiers and thirty more wounded.
This was the fiercest ground encounter between French-African coalition forces and the al-Qaeda aligned rebels since the initial intervention, and it informs us that African forces are contributing greatly to the aid of the besieged and weakened Malian forces while at the same time telling us this conflict isn't over quite yet.
What say you?