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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid