News / Africa

Challenges Ahead for Foreign Troops in Mali

Challenges Ahead for Foreign Troops in Malii
X
February 03, 2013 10:27 PM
In the past month, France has sent aircraft and boosted its ground troops in Mali to around 3,500 soldiers who have helped drive out al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants in the north. Saturday, visiting French President Francois Hollande said French troops would not leave Mali until the situation is stabilized and a regional African force is ready to fight alongside the Malian army. VOA's Anne Look reports from Sevare, Mali, that may be easier said than done.

Challenges Ahead for Foreign Troops in Mali

Anne Look
In the past month, France has sent aircraft and boosted its ground troops in Mali to around 3,500 soldiers who have helped drive out al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants in the north.  Saturday, visiting French President Francois Hollande said French troops would not leave Mali until the situation is stabilized and a regional African force is ready to fight alongside the Malian army.  
 
French President Francois Hollande got a hero's welcome Saturday in the liberated northern town of Timbuktu. 
 
Hollande's visit marked an end to what French and Malian officials say has been a successful first phase of this now three-week French deployment to Mali. 
 
"The terrorist groups have been weakened.  They have suffered heavy losses, but have not disappeared.  So, what do we have to do?  We have to continue to pursue them.  France will stay at Mali's side as long as needed, meaning until Africans are ready to take over for us with the regional AFISMA force, but until then, we will be at your side, until the end, all the way to the north of Mali," he said. 
 
Soldiers from Chad and Niger are helping Malian and French forces secure parts of the recaptured north, a vast and notoriously difficult-to-police expanse of the Sahara.
 
About 8,000 African troops are heading to Mali, but most are not expected at the front before the end of February.  Analysts say those troops could be plunged into a nasty hit-and-run guerilla war for which neither they, nor the Malian army, are equipped or trained. 
 
France needed help from its allies to airlift its troops and supplies into the landlocked country.  Its advance in the far north was delayed by a sudden sandstorm. 
 
It is taking this French military supply convoy five days to make the 1,200-kilometer journey from Bamako to the liberated northern town of Gao. 
 
The convoy's commander, Lieutenant Emmanuel said, "Without these supplies, without this gas, the French troops cannot continue their offensive action.  So, we have to be on schedule and we have to bring these necessities so the forces can continue what has already been a rapid advance."
 
The convoy then had to stop for an extra day en route to outfit vehicles with electronic protection devices, after a Malian military convoy hit a land mine on the road near Gao, killing two soldiers.
 
These kinds of logistical challenges faced by French forces could be just a preview of what awaits their much-less-resourced African counterparts.  The speed of the French advance has left them little time for preparation. 
 
Many in Mali worry a hasty or premature exit by the French could spell disaster.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid