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Mali polls: UN peacekeepers take charge

United Nations peacekeepers took over security duties from African troops in Mali on Tuesday with a mission to ensure stability in the conflict-scarred nation just four weeks ahead of planned elections. 

A 12,600-strong force officially replaced the AFISMA military mission, which has been supporting French soldiers who entered Mali in January to halt an Islamist advance and help the government re-establish its authority over the vast country.

Soldiers from nine troop-contributing west African countries and UN officials took part in a ‘re-hatting’ ceremony in Bamako on Monday, replacing their head gear with the distinctive light blue berets of the UN.
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