Malian officials say militants have given up their 4x4 vehicles, making them vulnerable to French air operations. Reuters journalists north of Bamako saw French and Malian flags hung side by side and one national paper ran a headline today: 'Thank you France, thank you Francois Hollande.' Still, it is early days.
Islamist militants have taken gas plant workers from at least ten countries - including the United States - hostage in the Saharan desert.
France's military intervention has been widely greeted here. Normally, Malian attitudes towards its former colonial ruler range from resentment to admiration.