DIABALY, Mali (January 21, 2013)--French forces were in control of the key Malian town of Diabaly Monday after radical Islamists fled following days of air strikes.
Associated Press reporters who visited the town Monday saw French armored personnel carriers rolling through the streets.
French troops in camouflage uniforms were seen taking up positions in front of a Malian military camp in the town.
Islamists seized the town one week ago, raising alarm about their advance southward from their northern strongholds toward the capital.
Residents say the Islamists were hiding among the population, making it difficult for the troops to intervene.
France began a military operation Jan. 11 to oust the Islamic extremists, but said other African nations need to take the lead in helping.