January 15, 2013
French forces in Mali have been taken by surprise by the fighting strength of the Islamist radicals they are attempting to drive out of the centre of the country, it emerged on Sunday.
Aides to President Francois Hollande admitted the militants were better equipped, armed and trained than they had expected.
“What has struck us markedly is how modern their equipment is and their ability to use it,” one said in a reference to the rebels’ hit on a French Gazelle helicopter.
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