Ivory Coast crisis meeting on Mali conflict
Major General S U Abdulkadir (C), Force Commander of the intervention force in Mali known as AFISMA, jokes with various Chiefs of staff during an extraordinary meeting of the Chiefs of Staffs from the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) on the Mali crisis in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 26 January 2013. Others are not identified. French and Malian forces have taken control of the airport in the northern town of Gao according to the French defence ministry, as they continue their advance northwards along two main fronts in the north east and north west of Mali. The northern Malian towns of Gao, Kidal, Timbuktu, Lere and Diabaly were all seized by Islamic militants linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb but they are now steadily being retaken by the French and Malian forces.