Fearing an Islamist
offensive against the capital of Bamako, the French government launched a military offensive in January that routed the militants out of northern Mali. The French then helped organize a coalition of African countries that helped
Mali drive the insurgents into retreat in the north. In July, the African
troops were integrated into a new U.N. peacekeeping mission - the U.N.
Multidimensional Integrated Stablization Mission in Mali(MINUSMA). The mission
- which is headed by a Dutch politician, Bert Koenders- is serving along-side a
separate French force of some 3,000 troops.