UN resumes food aid in north Mali

The United Nations said Tuesday it had resumed food aid operations in northern Mali, which were frozen after a French-led offensive against radical Islamists began there last month.

"The World Food Programme has relaunched its distribution of food and nutritional supplements in the north of Mali," the UN food agency's spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told reporters in Geneva.

She said seven boats carrying 600 tonnes of aid left the river port of Mopti at the weekend bound for a district in the Timbuktu region.

The goal is to provide a month's worth of food aid to some 35,000 people, including almost 3,000 children aged under five years, and more than 600 pregnant women and new mothers.

French forces intervened in Mali on January 11 to help the army halt an advance on the capital Bamako by Islamists who overran the north after a military coup in March.