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(France 24) — France’s military intervention in Mali will be increased to 2,500 French soldiers, defence ministry sources said Tuesday, as the offensive in the divided African country entered its fifth day.

French President François Hollande held a press conference during a state visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday, during which he outlined France’s three goals in Mali.

“Our objectives are as follows: one, stop terrorists seeking to control the country including the capital Bamako; two, we want to ensure that Bamako is secure – several thousand French nationals live there; three, enable Mali to retake its territory, a mission that has been entrusted to an African force that France will support,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Hollande announced that French troop presence had already been boosted to 750 soldiers and would continue to rise.

Citing sources close to French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the AFP news agency said that France’s fighting force in the troubled African country would “progressively reach” the new figure.