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January 18, 2013

Despite Fighting in North, Relative Calm Prevails in Mali's Capital

by Idrissa Fall

As French-backed government forces in Mali continue their offensive against Islamist militants in the nation's northern regions, the situation in the capital, Bamako, looks like pretty much like normal life. One major difference is that behind the airport there is a French military base and planes are coming. Yesterday two planes from Canada brought materials, but nothing for the war.  

So people you talk with, all of them are very happy with the military intervention. But for most people in Bamako, it is business as usual. People are going to work, driving their cars and every corner is jammed. And at least for the time being, there is not panic in Bamako.

A reporter for VOA was visiting some displaced people from Gao on Friday morning, and there was discussion about what happened to the kids that had their hands cut off in Gao when they were accused of treason, stealing and robbery.  

The displaced people found me two of the young men who had their hands cut off, and they appeared to be about 20 years old. They now are sleeping in the streets, they don’t have anything to eat, and they don’t have jobs.