Jan. 17 - Columns of French tanks left Bamako for the rebel held north to help Malian soldiers battle Islamist fighters. Deborah Gembara reports.
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French troops are on the move to Segou. They left the capital in an armored column for the north where Malian forces are battling al Qaeda linked rebels, after a week of air strikes.
Abdourahaman Bary, a resident of Konobougou, some 136 miles from Bamako.
SOUNDBITE: Abdourahaman Bary, a villager from Konobougou saying:
"It's thanks to the good God that we are still here. We are secure now. We see France here with a strong hand. We like that, it's God's hand."
The French push northward into rebel controlled areas comes as West African forces arrived in Mali.
About 100 troops from Togo arrived in Bamako, and were joining up with forces from Nigeria to reinforce French and Malian forces.
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