A Mali army soldier
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Mali calls for international help to defeat Islamists

28 August 2012 Last updated at 13:08 BST

The government of Mali in West Africa is calling for international help in defeating Islamist extremists who have taken over two thirds of the country.

The extremists, some of whom have links with al-Qaeda took control soon after Mali's elected government was overthrown by a military coup in March.

In this special report Mike Thomson has had rare access to the Mali Army who are attempting to regain control.