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

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad 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.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid