February 2nd, 2013
06:27 AM ET

Hollande visits Mali to thank French troops battling militants

(CNN) – French President Francois Hollande arrived in Mali on Saturday, where his nation's troops are battling Islamist militants alongside African forces.

France is leading an offensive against militants it its former colony. The three-week ground and air campaign has sent militants who had seized the northern region fleeing into the vast desert.

Hollande landed in Sevare accompanied by his defense and foreign ministers, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported.

From there, he joined Malian interim President Dioncounda Traore for a visit to the fabled city of Timbuktu. French-led forces liberated the historical city this week after a yearlong grip by Islamist militants.

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Filed under: Africa • Europe • France • Mali • World
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