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    A turbulent year in Mali

    French troops have consolidated gains in Mali's Islamist-held north as Paris said the aim was its "total reconquest". The French advance towards insurgent strongholds came amid reports the militants were abandoning some of their positions and converging on the mountainous region of Kidal, their northernmost bastion. Kidal, some 1,500 kilometres from the capital Bamako, was the first town seized by an amalgam of Islamist militants and Tuareg separatist groups in March last year.VIDEOGRAPHIC