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French soldiers from the 21st RIMA patrol with armoured vehicles on a... News Photo2012-2013 Northern Mali Conflict,Armored Vehicle,Army Soldier,Bamako,Bridge - Man Made Structure,Conflict,French Culture,Horizontal,Mali,Mode of Transport,Niger River,StrategyPhotographer Collection: AFP 2013 AFPFrench soldiers from the 21st RIMA patrol with armoured vehicles on a strategic bridge over the Niger river on January 22, 2013, near Markala, some 270km north of Bamako. Mali's army chief today said his French-backed forces could reclaim the northern towns of Gao and fabled Timbuktu from Islamists in a month, as the United States began airlifting French troops to Mali. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)