News / Africa

    African Leaders Prepare for Military Intervention in Northern Mali

    African Union Chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (front L) and Mali's President Dioncounda Traore attend a high level international meeting on the crisis in northern Mali, Bamako, October 19, 2012.
    African Union Chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (front L) and Mali's President Dioncounda Traore attend a high level international meeting on the crisis in northern Mali, Bamako, October 19, 2012.
    Peter Tinti
    High-level delegations from the United Nations, West African bloc ECOWAS, and the African Union met with Malian leaders Friday to develop a coherent strategy for tackling the crisis in northern Mali, where al-Qaida linked militant groups have taken control.

    Mali’s interim President Dioncounda Traore urged representatives from ECOWAS, the African Union, European Union, United Nations and other key partners to act immediately in addressing the deteriorating situation in the north.

    Traore assured attendees of the total cooperation of the Malian government, and said it would not falter because those present were there as friends, brothers and partners at a time when the pooling of resources is the only response to the security challenges that Mali is facing. 

    Traore described the situation as a “race against time” against a “common enemy” and said that these challenges represent a risk for the Sahel, for West Africa, for the Sahara, for Africa and for the world.

    The United Nations has been calling on ECOWAS for months to provide a more detailed plan for its proposed military action in northern Mali against the al-Qaida linked militant groups who seized control in April following a March 22nd coup in Mali's capital.

    This highly anticipated meeting is seen as a decisive step in developing a coherent strategy for tackling the crisis.

    Among those present was former prime minister Romano Prodi of Italy, who U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed as his Special Envoy for the Sahel earlier this month. Their attendance was praised by
    Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson.

    "The presence here today of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Sahel -- former president of the European Commission and prime minister of Italy Romano Prodi -- is a tangible expression of the commitment of the United Nations to helping resolve the crisis in the Sahel and in Mali," Eliasson said.

    The newly-appointed chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, echoed these sentiments.
     
    "I have chosen to make this my first trip in my official capacity as the chairperson of the African Union Commission to Mali to convey a message of solidarity from our continent to the people of this great country, said Zuma. "In so doing, I also want to highlight the AU's deep concern about the prevailing situation and the AU's determination to do everything in our power to help the people of Mali to find a speedy resolution to the overlapping crises in their country."

    The U.N. refugee agency says at least 450,000 people in northern Mali have fled into neighboring countries or into the government-held south since the start of the year.

    Several recent reports have highlighted a litany of human rights abuses committed by militants in the north, including amputations, recruitment of child soldiers and forced prostitution.  Smoking and music are banned, and in many towns women are forced to wear a veil and are forbidden from interacting with men in public.

    Once a military intervention plan is finalized and submitted to the U.N., the Security Council will need to hold a second vote to decide whether to approve the operation.  Several experts said that even if the Security Council approves the proposal as is, and does not request further details or revisions, it could be months before ECOWAS troops are on the ground.

    Toward the end of his speech Friday, Traore drew applause when he called on the international community to lift the sanctions that were put in place after the coup until elections are held, arguing that they are hurting the economy.

    Mali is working to organize credible, transparent elections as soon as possible,he said, but added that Mali’s entire territory should participate in elections, otherwise it would be a recognition of the current status quo and the division of the country.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora