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Men play boules on January 30, 2013 in Gao, a game that was forbidden... News Photo2012-2013 Northern Mali Conflict,Adult,Conflict,Gao Region,Horizontal,Islam,Mali,MenPhotographer Collection: AFP 2013 AFPMen play boules on January 30, 2013 in Gao, a game that was forbidden under Islamist rule. Gao was a key Islamist stronghold until it was retaken on January 26 by French and Malian troops in a major boost to the French-led offensive against the Al Qaeda-linked rebels, who have been holding Mali's vast desert north since last April. French troops on January 30 entered Kidal, the last Islamist bastion in Mali's north after a whirlwind Paris-led offensive, as France urged peace talks to douse ethnic tensions targeting Arabs and Tuaregs. Billboard reads: 'Al Hesbah, together for the pleasure of God almighty and the struggle against sins.' AFP PHOTO/ SIA KAMBOU (Photo credit should read SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images)