UN peacekeepers stand guard near the airport on February 4, 2016 in Timbuktu, central Mali. / AFP / SةBASTIEN RIEUSSEC
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Malian troops backed by U.N. helicopters stormed a U.N. police base in the city of Timbuktu and recaptured it from suspected Islamist militants who had seized it hours before Friday, the United Nations said.A group of around six militants drove up to the U.N. base in the former Hotel Palmeraie at the entrance to Timbuktu at dawn and detonated a car bomb before holing up inside, security sources said.The former hotel had been taken over exclusively by a Nigerian U.N. police contingent.Islamist militants briefly held Timbuktu, an ancient trade and cultural hub, in 2012 and other northern towns until French forces drove them out a year later.
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