BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A military spokesman said that Mali's army had entered the contested city of Kidal, the last major town that was in rebel hands following a French-led military operation earlier this year to oust the al-Qaida-linked fighters which had occupied northern Mali.
Lt. Col. Souleymane Maiga said Malian soldiers entered Kidal around 5 p.m. local time Friday, and headed for Camp 1, a military installation inside the city. They were accompanied by French soldiers, just as they were when they entered the north's two other main — Gao and Timbuktu — which were liberated in January.
Kidal had become a de facto Tuareg state, ruled by Tuareg rebels. They recently signed an agreement with the Malian government paving the way for Friday's return.