Photo shows French army soldiers standing on armored vehicles as they leave Bamako and start their deployment to the north of Mali.
– France imposes media blackout on Mali war (PressTV, Jan 22, 2013):
France has reportedly imposed a media blackout on its invasion of Mali amid a growing war that rages on in the West African nation.
On January 11, France launched the war under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters in Mali. However, as Paris has stepped up its ground offensive and aerial strikes in Mali few images of the conflict have come out of the African country.
French networks TF1 and France Televisions have also sent several teams to Bamako, but a media blackout on images of the clashes has confined all journalists to the city.
This comes as French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said the number of French troops on the ground in the West African country could top the initially-planned number of 2,500.
“Two thousand five hundred is what was initially announced, maybe that will be exceeded,” Le Drian said in a Saturday television interview.
Also on Sunday, Le Drian announced that Paris’ goal in the African country “is the total reconquest of Mali,” adding, “We will not leave any pockets” of resistance.
Meanwhile, the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said it was preparing for around 700,000 people to flee the violence in Mali.
The United States, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark have already said they would support the French war against Mali.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has also pledged to support the French war by sending 5,800 soldiers to Mali.
Some analysts believe that Malian abandoned natural resources, including gold and uranium reserves, could be one of the reasons behind French war on the country.