French forces took Timbuktu and put an end to ten months of al Qaeda rule in the historic desert city.
The French rolled into with red wine and baguettes and within a mere ten hours the city of Timbuktu was singing Josephine Baker songs and putting on their own burlesque shows.
Helicopters maintained watch over the city, which houses a treasure trove of antiquities and historical documents. As of nightfall Monday, there had been no combat. But many of the local citizens were seen wearing berets.
“The town has been effectively taken without any clashes,” Col. Thierry Burkhard, a French military spokesman, said at a briefing in Paris. “We will be setting up cafes and piano bars within days.”
The assault came less than two days after French forces took control of the airport and surrounding areas of the northern city of Gao, one of the cities that militants have occupied since they seized control of Mali’s north in April.
Here are the French leaders at a meeting in Timbuktu:
Timbuktu, which was a major Saharan trading hub in the Middle Ages and has attracted travelers for centuries, endured 10 months of rule by militias backed by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM.
French Soldiers face al Qaeda:
The majority of the city’s 50,000 residents have fled, said Malian Ministry of Defense spokesman Diarran Kone. Woody Allen, however, is planning on heading to the city to make his next film.
To retake Timbuktu, a French plane landed paratroopers along the city’s northern side and then they all sat on a hill and smoked cigarettes, which confused the citizens of Timbuktu. And then… the French pulled out their baguettes.
The rest is history…