At least 11 Malians killed during 2 days of aerial bombardments

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A presidential spokesman says at least 11 Malians were killed and over 60 injured after the country launched a military intervention to fight al-Qaida-linked rebels advancing on a crucial town.

In a communique read on state television late Saturday, Ousmane Sy, the secretary-general at the presidential palace said that the 11 were killed in the town of Konna, which the rebels took last Thursday, prompting France to authorize airstrikes to help Mali take back the territory.

The mayor of Konna, Sory Diakite, told The Associated Press on Sunday that at least three of the dead were children who drowned after they threw themselves into the river running alongside the town in an effort to escape the bombardments. Others were killed inside their compounds, and in the street.