January 11, 2013
President François Hollande declared that Mali’s very existence was threatened by “terrorist aggression”, adding: “French army forces supported Malian units this afternoon to fight against terrorist elements.”
The battle came after hundreds of Islamist gunmen struck beyond their stronghold in northern Mali and seized the town of Konna in the central region on Thursday.
This placed them less than 40 miles from Mopti, the last garrison town protecting the road to the capital, Bamako. President Dioncounda Traore of Mali appealed for help from France, the former colonial power, and a counter-attack began Friday with the aim of retaking Konna.