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Officials look to Mali's humanitarian needs

The town of Diabaly bears the scars of war, after Islamist rebels battled for its control against French and Malian troops. On Monday (January 21) the area was secured as heavily armed rebels were pushed out of the town. Residents here say around 200 fighters held them captive for several days. Aid agencies say Mali's humanitarian situation is being evaluated, with over a thousand people already identified as needing help. The U.N. says up to 700,000 people could be uprooted in the violence, with many fleeing into neighbouring countries. In the capital, some of the region's displaced people are already looking forward to returning home. One woman fled her home in Timbuktu when Islamist fighters arrived. SOUNDBITE: FATOUMATA MAIGA, DISPLACED WOMAN FROM TIMBUKTU, SAYING (French): "As soon as peace returns, when the authorities return, I am going to go back because I left everything. I left with one outfit, which I wore, and my five children. We walked 23 kilometres (14 miles)." With international support, France aims to dislodge the Islamists from northern Mali and prevent it being used as a base to attack the West.

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