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Mali president declares state of emergency

Friday - 1/11/2013, 3:37pm  ET

FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2012 file photo, fighters from Islamist group Ansar Dine stand guard in Timbuktu, Mali, as they prepare to publicly lash a member of the Islamic Police found guilty of adultery. The Mali army attacked Islamist rebels with heavy weapons in the center of the country which divides the insurgent-held north and the government-controlled south, government officials said Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/File)

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) -- Mali's president has declared a state of emergency on national television a day after Islamists pushed the closest ever from the north toward government-held territory.

President Dioncounda Traore said late Friday that the declaration would remain in effect for 10 days and could be renewed.

The president called on mining companies and non-government organizations to give up their pickups and other trucks to the Malian military, raising questions about the capacity of the army.

Traore's emergency declaration comes a day after the Islamists who rule northern Mali seized the central town of Konna, located not far from the last town still under Malian government control.

On Friday, France also announced it had launched an air operation to aid Malian forces.


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