Photos: France sends troops to Mali

Photos: France sends troops to Mali

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

A French soldier prepares his ammunitions on January 16, 2013 at the military airbase in Bamako, before his regiment's deployment as part of the "Serval" operation against Islamists occupying northern Mali. France has deployed 700 troops in and around Paris, Interior Minister Manuel Valls revealed Tuesday in the latest indicator of mounting concern over potential reprisals for military intervention in Mali. Leaders of the militant Islamist groups under attack in the West African state have warned that France has "opened the doors of hell" by unleashing its warplanes and have called on fellow extremists to hit back on French soil. AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

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by Michael Rollins

Bio | Email | Follow: @KGWNews

kgw.com

Posted on January 18, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 18 at 1:22 PM

A former French colony, Mali once enjoyed a reputation as one of West Africa's most stable democracies with the majority of its 15.8 million people practicing a moderate form of Islam. That changed last March, following a coup in the capital which created the disarray that allowed Islamist extremists to take over the main cities in the distant north.

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