The United Nations is launching one of its largest ever peacekeeping missions in Africa.

More than 12,000 troops are being deployed in Mali to take over from French forces who have been fighting opposition groups there since January.

But, this comes ahead of a major challenge as the country embarks on elections, meant to be held by July-end.

Al Jazeera's James Bays reports from Timbuktu.

Source: Al Jazeera