World News

Chadian Forces Move to Secure Mali's Kidal

Chadian soldiers have begun securing the Malian city of Kidal, which was the last major stronghold of Islamist militants in the country.

French officials Tuesday said about 1,800 Chadian soldiers have begun entering the city. The move comes about a week after French-led Malian forces took control of Kidal's airport.

Earlier, a secular Tuareg rebel group, the MNLA, seized control of Kidal itself.

The French Defense Ministry says French airstrikes have hit 25 Islamist targets in northern Mali in recent days.

France, which launched its Mali intervention last month, has announced plans to gradually withdraw its forces and turn control of recaptured cities over to the Malian army and an African-led military force.

On Monday, France announced plans to begin withdrawing the bulk of its troops from Timbuktu.

In another development, international organizations and officials from Mali met in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss Mali's future and efforts to stabilize the country.

After the session, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the international community needed to recognize its responsibilities to Mali and "react quickly."

Stephen O'Brien, the United Kingdom's special envoy for the Sahel Region, said the international coordination effort must recognize the political will of participants.



"This is an international response so we are all working together and working through these issues and make sure it is thought through because the resources can then be called for, providing one has a good strategy, then the resources, of course, follow through."



In addition to the EU, the United Nations and the Economic Community of West African States were among about 45 delegations who took part in the meeting.



The group discussed humanitarian and human rights efforts, as well as the political process in Mali, where the crisis began last year when soldiers overthrew the president. Interim leader Dioncounda Traore wants to hold new elections in July.

Another key item is the progress of the African intervention force due to take over from French troops.

The European Union is working on plans to send hundreds of trainers to help Mali's military. So far, 17 European countries have pledged to contribute to the training force.

The United States is assisting in support efforts. A U.S. Defense Department spokesman says as of Sunday, U.S. military C-17's had completed 30 flights into Mali, transporting personnel and tons of equipment.

The March 2012 coup in Mali allowed the MNLA and Islamist groups to take control of the north. The Islamists then seized full control of the region and imposed strict Sharia law with measures that included a ban on music and forcing women to wear veils.

###

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs