DOUENTZA, Mali — An official in the central Malian down of Douentza said radical Islamists have retreated from the town after holding it for four months.
News of the militants’ departure came Monday, the same day French and Malian forces secured another town, Diabaly.
Sali Maiga, a town adviser in Douentza, said that French and Malian forces arrived in Douentza on Monday around 11 a.m.
Maiga said the Islamists, who first captured Douentza in September, had left the town the previous week.
France began a military intervention Jan. 11 to dislodge the Islamists from their strongholds in northern and central Mali after they began advancing farther south. France has said it will stay as long as it takes, though said other African countries must take the lead.