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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid