Editor's Pick

The 100 on TVNZ Ondemand

The 100 - Watch Fast

Series 1, Episode 5 Twilight’s Last Gleaming 18 Apr 14 00:39:21

Top Shows

Contact ONE News

More than 100 killed in fighting in Mali

Published: 7:14AM Sunday January 13, 2013 Source: Reuters

  • French forces carried out a second day of air strikes against Islamist rebels in Mali on Saturday and sent troops to protect the capital Bamako in an operation involving several hundred soldiers. (Source: Reuters)
    French forces carried out a second day of air strikes against Islamist rebels in Mali on Saturday and sent troops to protect the capital Bamako in an operation involving several hundred soldiers. - Source: Reuters

More than 100 people including rebels and government soldiers were killed in Mali during French air strikes and fighting over the strategic town of Konna, Malian military sources and witnesses say.

An army officer at the headquarters of Mali's former military junta in Bamako said nearly 30 vehicles carrying Islamist fighters had been bombed and "over 100" rebels had been killed in fighting.

"We have driven them out, we are effectively in Konna," Malian Defence Ministry spokesman Lt Col Diaran Kone told Reuters. "We don't know if they have planted mines or other traps, so we are moving with caution. There were many deaths on both sides."

A shopkeeper in Konna said he had counted 148 bodies in four different locations in the town. Among the dead were several dozen uniformed government soldiers. Others wore traditional robes and turbans.

Fighters from the Islamist coalition that currently controls northern Mali do not wear military clothing.

A resident in the town of Gao, the stronghold of the MUJWA Islamist group, said fighters had begun arriving with their dead on Friday.

"Electric power is available at the mortuary, which is not always the case. And the Islamists have bought plenty of burial mats," the man said.