News / Europe

    France Delays Sahel Counter-insurgency Plan after Mali Violence

    Reuters
    France has delayed plans to redeploy 3,000 soldiers to fight militants across Africa's Sahel region, saying it first needs to help deal with a fresh outbreak of violence in northern Mali.

    Paris had hoped to move the troops from its former colony Mali and other bases to target Islamist groups operating between southern Libya, northern Chad and northern Niger. It fears the fighters could use the region as a base for wider attacks.

    But it paused the plans after deadly clashes broke out between Mali government troops and Tuareg MNLA separatists in the north over the weekend, said officials.

    "Given the events of the last 48 hours, the operation to transfer operation Serval [in Mali] to a Sahel-Sahara French force must be delayed for several weeks," a defense ministry source said on Tuesday.

    France originally sent troops into Mali after al Qaida-linked Islamists took advantage of a Tuareg-led rebellion and seized control of the country's north in 2012. A French-led military operation, known as Serval, drove them back last year.

    After that intervention drove the Islamists from major cities and towns, Mali's government and separatist groups signed a deal in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou to hold talks about greater autonomy for the north, but little progress has been made since last year with tensions gradually rising.

    A French military source said no new date had been set for the broader West African deployment, originally scheduled to be completed by the end of May.

    At least eight Malian soldiers and eight civilians including six government officials were killed when rebels attacked the regional governor's office in the northern town of Kidal on Saturday.

    The situation in Kidal was calm on Tuesday and the two sides were pursuing negotiations in which the government hoped to regain control of the town without bloodshed, according to a local military source.

    French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian postponed a May 25 trip to Mali and Chad, where the new broader operation will be based.

    He had planned to outline details of the mission that would operate across the Sahel region along the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, to fight Islamist militancy.
    "There is an urgency in the coming days to restore calm in Kidal, because this must not derail the reconciliation process," a French diplomatic source said.

    After winning adulation across Mali for its 5-month military offensive, France has been caught in the middle of a diplomatic tussle between the government wanting to arrest its control over the country and the rebels still demanding some form of autonomy
    in the north. Both sides have accused Paris, the former colonial power, of not doing enough to promote their cause and of supporting the other "The situation could deteriorate but not to the extent of 2012, mostly because of the presence of foreign troops," said Jean-Baptiste Bouzard, Africa analyst at risk consultancy
    Maplecroft.

    "At the moment, they [the French] have decided to stay neutral but if France decides that the situation can't worsen anymore, its army has the capacity to put an end to MNLA action," he added.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    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.
    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