France to evacuate its citizens from Mali's Segou

RUKMINI CALLIMACHI
January 14, 2013
This Sunday Jan.13, 2013 photo provided by the French Army Monday Jan.14, 2013 shows a  French Rafale jetfighter landing after a mission to Mali in N'Djamena, Chad. French fighter jets bombed rebel targets in a major city in Mali's north Sunday, pounding the airport as well as training camps, warehouses and buildings used by the al-Qaida-linked Islamists controlling the area, officials and residents said. (AP Photo/Adj Nicolas-Nelson Richard, ECPAD)
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This Sunday Jan.13, 2013 photo provided by the French Army Monday Jan.14, 2013 shows a French Rafale jetfighter landing after a mission to Mali in N'Djamena, Chad. French fighter jets bombed rebel targets in a major city in Mali's north Sunday, pounding the airport as well as training camps, warehouses and buildings used by the al-Qaida-linked Islamists controlling the area, officials and residents said. (AP Photo/Adj Nicolas-Nelson Richard, ECPAD)

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The French embassy in Bamako sent an email ordering the immediate evacuation of all French nationals living in the Malian town of Segou.

The evacuation order was confirmed by a French citizen in Segou, who insisted upon anonymity because of the security situation. The French citizen owner said the order came after the fall on Monday of the garrison town of Diabaly to the al-Qaida-linked rebels occupying northern Mali. Diabaly was seized by the extremists despite heavy bombardment by French special forces, bringing the militants to within 80 kilometers (49 miles) of the southern Mali town of Segou and within 400 kilometers (248 miles) of the capital, Bamako.

French President Francois Hollande authorized the airstrikes last week after the Islamists began their push south.