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1,800 Chadian soldiers securing Mali's Kidal: France


About 1,800 Chadian soldiers have entered the northern Mali city of Kidal to "secure" what was the last stronghold of Islamist rebels, the French defence ministry said on Tuesday.

A ministry official said French forces, now numbering 4,000 in Mali, also took control and were securing the city's airport following paratrooper reinforcements.

The official said French air strikes against rebel positions in the Kidal region had hit 25 targets in recent days, "mainly logistical depots and training centres" in the areas of Aguelhok and Tessalit.

Chad had promised to provide 2,000 soldiers to the African-led AFISMA intervention force in Mali, which is starting to take shape following a lightning offensive by French forces against the rebels, who seized control of Mali's vast desert north last year.