French forces destroyed a convoy in Niger transporting weapons from Libya to Mali and captured fighters linked to al Qaeda, the presidency said on Friday as France steps up efforts to stop militants crisscrossing the Sahel-Sahara region. ...
"The intervention enabled a large quantity of weapons to be seized and to neutralise a number of those in the convoy, including some who were captured," the statement said, without giving further details.
Seizing weapons and capturing jihadis implies a ground operation and not simply an air strike.
Mali is a little less secure these days, with jihadi attacks taking place. If I recall, the south isn't being too forthcoming in negotiating some autonomy for the Tuaregs in the north to undermine the appeal of supporting jihadis to resist the southerners' complete control.
So operations like this in the region are necessary. Which is why France with some help from us (we have permission to set up a drone base in Niger, although no mention is made of our involvement) is setting up forces in the region to track and kill jihadis.
UPDATE: More on Mali and the regional jihadi problem from Strategypage.