Monday, January 28, 2013




The recapture of Timbuktu was done by moonlight. More than 250 French troops parachuted down to the northern entrance of the fabled desert city, while an armoured column sealed the southern exit. French contingent commander:

 “Not a shot was fired,” French Colonel Paul Gèze : “We have secured the town but we fear that some elements of the Islamist factions could still be here hiding amid the population.” The potholed Tarmac has been patched up with sand but transport flights carrying emergency food were still landing 80 kilometres away across the sand and marshland in Gundam.

 The eventually peaceful liberation of Timbuktu was preceded by 12 days – and six nights – of operations which the commanding officer from the 5th Combat Regiment of South-west France said had been as “hard as Libya”, given the technical demands."





PARIS - The fighting in Gao, the largest city in northern Mali have killed 25 people this weekend in the ranks of Islamists, said Monday evening the spokesman of Staff of the French Army, Colonel Thierry Burkhard during a press briefing.

During the fighting in Gao, a town in 1200 northeast of Bamako, French special forces have been brief but intense clashes with terrorists taking control of the b
ridge across the Niger to the south of the city, he explained.
Fifteen terrorists were neutralized (they are dead, ed), said the spokesman. A little later, in the north of the city in the night from Saturday to Sunday, two pick-ups were destroyed and ten terrorists neutralized.

Mr. Burkhard described the front boundary (north, ed) with the French military, he said, the French units that started with the control units Malian city of Timbuktu, accompanied by civil authorities the city.

A colonel in the Malian army, on condition of anonymity, announced in the afternoon that the AFP in Mali Malian and French armies now controlled the city. The information was confirmed by the mayor from Bamako to Timbuktu, Halley Ousmane, who said that his city had fallen to the hands of the French and Malians.
According to the spokesman, 3,500 French soldiers are deployed on Malian soil and the growing power of the device continues. He added that 1,900 African troops are also present.

About airlift, Colonel Burkhard announced that six Rafale fighters against four were previously mobilized since Friday in connection with the operation Serval. AWACS aircraft control was used for the first time in Timbuktu to coordinate all air operations marked in particular by a drop at night from a Transall company Legion paratroopers.

In terms of transport capacity but also strategic tactics, he cited the support means American, Canadian, Belgian, British, German and Danish. For the first time, French planes were refueled in flight by an American Sunday.



1:53 p.m.: A French ship arrived in Dakar men and equipment for Mali - Party Toulon, Diksmuide boat assault helicopter carrier French, arrived Monday in the port of Dakar, landing hundreds of men, vehicles and equipment. It is a "building projection and command (BPC) amphibious" which "participates in the deployed under Operation Serval," said the aspiring Pierre Gladieux, communications officer Dixmude . Among the vehicles transported, are "armored vehicles, transport vehicles. (...) These vehicles, the military will take the path of Bamako, Mali, in the coming days, "said the soldier.

"Although we are a helicopter carrier, there are no helicopters at the moment on the bridge. Instead, we had trucks. It has enabled us to carry more vehicles on the scene, "he said. "This is the first time that PCB transport is operational," said the officer, indicating that the Dixmude was placed in service "there is less than a year." It can perform "mission amphibious, airmobile mission is a hospital building" and "also an area command ..//''

Dixmude (L9015) is an amphibious assault ship, a type of helicopter carrier, of the French Navy. She is the third vessel to bear the name, and is the third ship of the Mistral-class amphibious assault ships.

Dixmude was delivered to the French defence procurement agency on 3 January 2012, three months ahead of schedule.[3]

In January 2013, Dixmude took part in Operation Serval, ferrying elements of the 92ème Régiment d’Infanterie to Mali[4].

[edit] References

Class & type:
 Mistral-class amphibious assault ship

 16,500 t (empty)
 21,300 t (full load)
 32,300 t (with ballasts)

 199 m

 32 m

 6,3 m

 Motorisation : 2 Mermaïd electric motors (2 × 7 MW)
 2 5-bladed propellers
 Electrical plant: 4 Wärtsilä diesels-alternators 16 V32 (6,2 MW) + 1 Wärtsilä Vasaa auxiliary diesel-alternator 18V200 (3 MW)

 18.8 knots

 10,800 km at 18 knots
 19,800 km at 15 knots

 2 barges, one Leclerc battalion, 70 vehicles

 20 officers, 80 petty officers, 60 Quarter-masters, 450 passengers (900 for a short cruise), 150 men operational headquarter

 2 Simbad systems
 2 30 mm Breda-Mauser
 4 12.7 mm M2-HB Browning machine guns

Aircraft carried:
 \16 heavy or 35 light helicopters





"French paratroopers swooped in to try to block fleeing hardliners as ground troops coming from the south seized the airport of Timbuktu, which has been a bastion of the extremists controlling the north for 10 months.

"We control the airport at Timbuktu," a senior officer with the Malian army told AFP. "We did not encounter any resistance."

French army spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkhard told AFP the troops, backed up by helicopters, had seized control of the so-called Niger Loop – an area hugging a curve of the Niger River flowing between Timbuktu and Gao – in less than 48 hours. "


“The French air force has laid the groundwork for an all-out offensive, using Dassault Mirage 2000s and Rafale fighter jets to destroy rebel points in the vast desert around the city,” Mabin reported. “So far, the troops have experienced no form of counter-attack on the ground.”


The inner delta

The total area covered by the inner delta, which is a network of tributaries, channels, swamps and lakes, can reach about 30000 km2 in flood season. The delta area is swampy and the soil sandy. Consequently, the river 'loses' nearly two-thirds of its potential flow between Ségou (at 900 km from its source) and Timbuktu (at 1500 km) due to seepage and evaporation, the latter being aggravated by the fact that the river here touches the southern flanks of the Sahara desert. All the water from the Bani tributary, which flows into the Niger River at Mopti (at 1150 km), does not compensate for the 'losses' in the inner delta, as the total flow further downstream still decreases rather than increases (Figure 13). The average 'loss' is estimated at 31 km3/year, but varies considerably according to the years: it was 46 km3 during the wet year of 1969 and about 17 km3 during the dry year of 1973 [29].
The middle Niger River system
From the inner delta the river continues to flow north-eastwards before turning south-east to form a great bend, the Niger Loop. After meandering through arid areas it enters Niger. In the Niger Loop another 4 hen /year of water disappear between Dire and Ansongo. Like in the inner delta, these losses are mainly caused by evaporation, but they are much less because of the smaller area inundated during and after the floods. 'Losses' by infiltration are limited."