French and Malian troops have taken control of the historic Malian city of Timbuktu, after rebel occupiers fled the ancient Sahara trading town and torched several buildings, including a priceless manuscript library.
The French-led coalition troops were welcomed by residents of the town, AFP news agency reported with some residents saying that the rebel fighters had left the city several days ago.
"The Malian army and the French army are in complete control of the town of Timbuktu. Everything is under control," a colonel in the Malian army told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports from Timbuktu.