Nightly News   |  February 02, 2013

French president cheered in Timbuktu

President Francois Hollande went on a sort of victory tour through Timbuktu, in Mali, recently held by extremists connected with al-Qaida. NBC’s Rohit Kachroo reports from Mali.

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>>> we turn to africa where the president of france received cheers in mali today six days after his troops liberated the historic city of timbuktu from militants linked to al qaeda . nbc is on the ground there with this report.

>> reporter: three weeks after launching an assault against al qaeda aligned militants in the north of mali the president of france was here on what amounted to a victory tour . he never declared mission accomplished , but he was certainly cheered and even hugged as he walked through the streets of the ancient city of timbuktu . until a few days ago, he wouldn't have been able to. it was controlled by militant jihadists who have now fled after french paratroopers landed on the edges of this iconic community. president hollande thanked his troops, the french, and the malians as well as ordinary people but he added that in the future the job of protecting iconic communities like this one won't be that of france but of malian and west african troops. they're now moving into the city in order to secure this ancient community. nbc news, timbuktu .