The United Nations approved a plan for a military operation in Mali nine months from now, spearheaded by African troops. Hollande began the attack on rebel forces last week after deciding the U.N. approved response would be too late.
"Their take on Islam, specifically in the application of Sharia [law], is generally not compatible with how the majority of Malians practice religion," says Bindra.
(Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images)
Malians see the French attack as justified, perhaps even a little late, says the French citizen who spoke with U.S. News.
"It seems like the Islamists are making a last stand before going back to their caves in the desert," he says. "The French attacks won't be enough to eliminate the Islamist threat in the Sahel region and survivors will try to hide themselves in the desert, in Algeria, Mauritania and in the north of Mali."
This kind of spillover remains a growing concern in the region. The U.S. Embassy in Mali issued an emergency message for U.S. citizens on Tuesday after Islamic extremists invaded the town of Diabali in the Segou region, just under 150 miles northeast of Bamako. It warns Americans to avoid the region, if possible.