Troops from a regional West African force will be in Mali within days to help a French intervention against Islamist rebels, Nigeria says.
The force's commander, Gen Shehu Abdulkadir, confirmed the move to the BBC as West African military commanders met in Mali's capital, Bamako.
France has almost 800 troops in Mali, and another 1,700 involved elsewhere.
It began its intervention last Friday with the aim of halting the Islamists' advance south.And Timbuktu is free again;
French warplanes have carried out a series of air strikes on Islamist positions since the intervention began on Friday.
The raids continued overnight, with President Francois Hollande saying they had "achieved their goal".
....Islamists are reported to have pulled out of Gao and the historic town of Timbuktu, two of the big population centres that they overran in the north last year.
One resident in Timbuktu said the population was "free". "We can go out, we can smoke, people are happy," he told BBC Focus on Africa but added that people were too scared to go out on the streets and openly celebrate.Louis Reynaud was unavailable for comment.