News / Africa

African Force for Mali Could Double in Size

A Malian soldier mans a checkpoint on the outskirt of Diabaly, some 460kms (320 miles) north of Bamako, January 21, 2013.
A Malian soldier mans a checkpoint on the outskirt of Diabaly, some 460kms (320 miles) north of Bamako, January 21, 2013.
VOA News
U.N. officials say an African intervention force now deploying in Mali could double from its envisioned 3,300 troops, as more soldiers are needed to help regain control from Islamist militants holding the country's north.

Youssoufou Bamba, UN Ivory Coast Ambassador speaking at Security Council, Jul 26, 2012 (UN photo)Youssoufou Bamba, UN Ivory Coast Ambassador speaking at Security Council, Jul 26, 2012 (UN photo)
x
Youssoufou Bamba, UN Ivory Coast Ambassador speaking at Security Council, Jul 26, 2012 (UN photo)
Youssoufou Bamba, UN Ivory Coast Ambassador speaking at Security Council, Jul 26, 2012 (UN photo)
Ivory Coast U.N. Ambassador Youssoufou Bamba, who represents the Economic Community of West African States at the United Nations, says nearly 1,000 troops already are in Mali.  He urged the Security Council Tuesday to provide emergency financial and logistical support for the operation.

French and Malian forces have stopped a southward push by the militants, who seized the vast area of northern Mali following a March coup.

A VOA reporter in Gao says most Islamist militants have fled the city since last week, when French warplanes bombed their positions.

Foreign Troop Commitments to Mali

  • France 2,000 on the ground, 500 more committed
  • Chad to send 2,000
  • Nigeria to send 1,200
  • Benin to send 650
  • Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Togo have committed 500 each
  • Guinea and Ghana are also sending troops
  •  
The reporter says that some militants have been spotted in the area - driving in trucks or riding motorbikes or hiding out in trees. But he adds it is clear the Islamists are not numerous or organized enough to continue applying the strict Sharia law they imposed after taking control of the city last April.

Local youths have taken up smoking again, the VOA reporter says, and girls without head coverings can be seen in the streets.

​The journalist in Gao says the French airstrike on Gao 10 days ago did not kill any civilians, but that the city is suffering shortages of food and medical supplies because all deliveries from Niger and Algeria have been interrupted.

Gao has no communication links to the rest of the world. The reporter said he had to travel 180 kilometers outside Gao to file his report.

Malian forces are patrolling Diabaly, a town in central Mali where Islamist militants were beaten back Monday by French and Malian forces.

A Malian soldier walks inside a military camp used by radical Islamists and bombarded by French warplanes, in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013.A Malian soldier walks inside a military camp used by radical Islamists and bombarded by French warplanes, in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013.
x
A Malian soldier walks inside a military camp used by radical Islamists and bombarded by French warplanes, in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013.
A Malian soldier walks inside a military camp used by radical Islamists and bombarded by French warplanes, in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013.
Residents in Diabaly, too, said the militants who formerly held power there either have fled or are attempting to blend in with civilians. The town is 400 kilometers north of the capital, Bamako.

The correspondent leading the VOA reporting team in Mali, Idrissa Fall, says calm also is returning to Douentza, a town militants had taken over in September.

Fall spoke Tuesday with residents who expressed relief that Malian forces and their allies are now in charge of local affairs.

"They confirmed that the Malian army, the French soldiers, they arrived yesterday [Monday] morning at 9:00 a.m. and the whole population in Douentza went out celebrating their arrival," said Fall.

A convoy of French military vehicles drive on a road outside Markala, January 22, 2013.A convoy of French military vehicles drive on a road outside Markala, January 22, 2013.
x
A convoy of French military vehicles drive on a road outside Markala, January 22, 2013.
A convoy of French military vehicles drive on a road outside Markala, January 22, 2013.
French forces intervened in Mali January 11, when fears were growing that militants who still control much of northern Mali were pushing toward the capital.  The United States has helped the French intervention force in Mali with transportation and equipment.

Pentagon spokesman George Little Tuesday said the U.S. military has flown five C-17 cargo flights into Bamako.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the terrorist threat in Mali has "global repercussions."  In a speech to the General Assembly Tuesday, Mr. Ban said that addressing the unrest in Mali and the Sahel region is one of his top priorities this year.

During the past few days, the secretary-general said, he dispatched an advance team of U.N. multidisciplinary officials to Bamako as part of U.N. efforts to help stabilize Mali.

"My special representative for West Africa has been in close dialogue with the Malian authorities and our regional partners.  Our humanitarian agencies are working to meet the growing needs of a crisis that has forced 350,000 people to flee their homes," he said.

Ban said the U.N. will work with its African and international partners to fully restore Mali's constitutional order and territorial integrity.

  • Adama Drabo, 16, sits in the police station in Sevare, Mali, January 25, 2013. He was captured traveling without papers by Malian troops and arrested on suspicion of working for Islamic militant group MUJAO.
  • French soldiers sing the national anthem during a ceremony with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, before their departure to Mali, at Miramas Military base, France, January 25, 2013.
  • Malian troops man an observation post outside Sevare, Mali January 24, 2013.
  • French soldiers at an observation post outside Sevare, Mali, about 400 miles north of the capital Bamako, January 24, 2013.
  • A boy who fled northern Mali is seen at a camp for internally displaced persons in Sevare, Mali, January 23, 2013.
  • People who fled northern Mali are seen at a camp for internally displaced persons, in the city of Sevare, Mali, January 23, 2013.
  • Malians hang on the back of a packed minibus as they drive to Marakala, central Mali, 240 kilometers from Bamako, January 22, 2013.
  • A French soldier carries his equipment after arriving on a US Air Force C-17 transport plane at the airport in Bamako, Mali, January 22, 2013.
  • Malian soldiers carry a box of ammunition after searching through debris at a military camp in Diabaly, Mali, January 21 2013.
  • Charred pickup trucks, which according to local villagers, belonged to al-Qaida-linked rebels and destroyed by French airstrikes, are seen in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013.
  • A French soldier secures a perimeter on the outskirts of Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013.
  • A Malian soldier walks inside a military camp used by radical Islamists and bombarded by French warplanes, in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013.
  • An unidentified man takes a picture of the charred remains of trucks used by radical Islamists on the outskirts of Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013.
  • A Malian soldier checks identity papers in the center of Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013.

You May Like

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs