Malian foreign minister Malian foreign minister, Tiéman Coulibaly, confirmed the presence of “Polisario” fighters among the terrorist group in southern Mali.

“In the beginning, they were only 500 insurgents. Now they are between 5,500 to 7,000 terrorists in northern Mali who were joined by lost youngsters, including young Sahrawis from the (Tindouf) camps”, said the Malian official in an interview with electronic site “Atlasinfo.”

M. Coulibaly expressed thanks to Morocco for its humanitarian and diplomatic support and for military cooperation, recalling that resolution 2085, authorizing the deployment of the African-led international support mission in Mali, was voted during the Moroccan chairmanship of the Security Council.

“Morocco has always supported and is still supporting Mali and its territorial integrity,” said Malian foreign minister, Tiéman Coulibaly, stressing that his country “counts on Morocco’s backing and cooperation to overcome the terrorist threat”.

“We count on the assistance and support of Morocco, which is sister country with which we have ancestral ties”, he added stressing that the Kingdom was the first country to send a humanitarian assistance to Mali.

Despite Malian problems, Morocco continues to receive Malian students, has doubled the number of scholarships granted to Malian students and is still training Malian officers in its military schools, he went on adding that Morocco has also announced at the donors conference in Addis Ababa a financial assistance to Mali.