Feb 2 2013
French armoured personnel carriers have lined the streets of Timbuktu ahead of the arrival of French president Francois Hollande.
France's leader is making a triumphant visit to the city, which French forces liberated six days ago from the al-Qaida-linked extremists who seized northern Mali last year.
French soldiers are deployed at the intersections and on the perimeters of the city, ahead of his visit later on Saturday.
Around 800 French forces took part in the effort to free Timbuktu, including hundreds of paratroopers who parachuted on to nearby dunes.
France launched the military offensive three weeks ago in its former colony.
Despite the initial successes, some fear what will happen once they hand over to Mali and other African forces.