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Men ride motorcylces past a Malian soldier holding a machine gun as... News Photo2012-2013 Northern Mali Conflict,Adult,Army Soldier,Bamako,Conflict,Entrance,Gun,Holding,Horizontal,Machinery,Mali,Men,Niger River,Riding,Standing,StrategyPhotographer Collection: AFP 2013 AFPMen ride motorcylces past a Malian soldier holding a machine gun as he stands guard at the entrance of 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)