Paris, France – The President of the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF), Bertrand Delanoë, Tuesday hailed the liberation of the cities of Gao and Timbuktu by the Franco-Malian forces, saying the victory was a great relief.
Gao and Timbuktu are both AIMF member cities.
The city of Timbuktu, situated some 900 km north of Bamako, the Malian capital, was recaptured without fighting as the Jihadist rebels, who occupied it over the past nine months, left after burning several properties and historical places.
The city of Gao was liberated Saturday by French special forces, assisted by Chadian and Nigerien soldiers who are part of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA).
AIMF, established in 1979, on the initiative of the mayors of Paris and Quebec, brings together mayors and officials of capital cities where French is the official language.
One of its objectives is to facilitate the implementation of projects, exchange of practices and knowledge, by providing an international forum.