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Fifty French marsouins soldiers of the 2nd RIMA from Le Mans stand... News PhotoArmy Soldier,Defense Minister,France,French Culture,Guarding,Horizontal,Military,Morbihan,Politics,Vannes,VisitPhotographer Collection: AFP 2013 AFPFifty French marsouins soldiers of the 2nd RIMA (Marine Infantry Regiment) from Le Mans stand guard on February 5, 2013 in Vannes during a visit of French Defence minister. Those soldiers are due to leave for Mali as trainer for the local soldiers. After a three-week campaign by French-led forces drove Islamist extremists from most of their strongholds in northern Mali, including the cities of Timbuktu and Gao, dozens of French warplanes carried out major air strikes on rebel training and logistics centres on February 3 in Mali's mountainous northeast, near the Algerian border. France is eager to pass the baton in Mali to some 8,000 African troops pledged for the UN-backed AFISMA force, still deploying at a snail's pace, after sweeping to its former colony's aid on January 11 as the Islamists threatened to advance south towards the capital Bamako. AFP PHOTO/FRANK PERRY (Photo credit should read FRANK PERRY/AFP/Getty Images)