News / Africa

French, Malian Troops Retake Rebel-Controlled Town

French soldiers prepare their ammunitions at the military airbase in Bamako, before their deployment as part of the "Serval" operation against Islamists occupying northern Mali, January 16, 2013.
French soldiers prepare their ammunitions at the military airbase in Bamako, before their deployment as part of the "Serval" operation against Islamists occupying northern Mali, January 16, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
French and Malian troops have retaken the town of Diabaly in central Mali from Islamist militants.

A witness in Diabaly told VOA the town was retaken Monday, a week after Islamist fighters seized control.  Reports from the area say armored vehicles carrying French and Malian soldiers entered the town with no resistance, after days of French airstrikes.

Mali, AfricaMali, Africa
x
Mali, Africa
Mali, Africa
Residents say Islamists either fled the town or are attempting to blend in with the local population.

French forces said they were searching for landmines or explosive devices.

French forces intervened in Mali 10 days ago, amid fears that militants who control northern Mali were pushing toward the capital, Bamako.  Diabaly, located 400 kilometers north of the capital, marked the militants' closest approach to the city so far.

In Paris Monday, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said French and Malian forces have also retaken the town of Douentza.

On Sunday, Le Drian said France will accept nothing less than the "total reconquest" of Mali from Islamist militants.

Troops from Nigeria, Togo, Niger and Benin are also in Mali as part of an African intervention force.

Abdel Fatau Musah, external relations director for the Economic Community of West African States, told VOA Monday that the international community needs to provide financial and logistical support for ECOWAS forces.  He says this is "not a time to hold back."

"The whole conflict has been internationalized because of the whole issue of this criminal network, this terrorist network, that threatens not only West Africa but also the international community," he said. "France itself has acknowledged that it needs West African troops on the ground to make its air force worthwhile."

VOA French to Africa correspondent Idrissa Fall is in Sevare, close to the fighting in central Mali.  On Sunday, he described the town as being in a "state of war" with streets overrun by French and Malian military forces while empty of civilians.

Sevare has a strategically important airport which could serve as a base for further operations in the north.

Fall says the French military is giving little information to residents in the north, creating a sense of panic.  He reports phone lines to the city of Gao have been down for more than a week.

The extremists seized control of northern Mali after renegade soldiers toppled the government in March, leaving a temporary power vacuum.  The militants have imposed harsh conservative Islamic law across the north.  France is Mali's former colonial ruler and still has economic and political interests there.

  • Adama Drabo, 16, sits in the police station in Sevare, Mali, January 25, 2013. He was captured traveling without papers by Malian troops and arrested on suspicion of working for Islamic militant group MUJAO.
  • French soldiers sing the national anthem during a ceremony with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, before their departure to Mali, at Miramas Military base, France, January 25, 2013.
  • Malian troops man an observation post outside Sevare, Mali January 24, 2013.
  • French soldiers at an observation post outside Sevare, Mali, about 400 miles north of the capital Bamako, January 24, 2013.
  • A boy who fled northern Mali is seen at a camp for internally displaced persons in Sevare, Mali, January 23, 2013.
  • People who fled northern Mali are seen at a camp for internally displaced persons, in the city of Sevare, Mali, January 23, 2013.
  • Malians hang on the back of a packed minibus as they drive to Marakala, central Mali, 240 kilometers from Bamako, January 22, 2013.
  • A French soldier carries his equipment after arriving on a US Air Force C-17 transport plane at the airport in Bamako, Mali, January 22, 2013.
  • Malian soldiers carry a box of ammunition after searching through debris at a military camp in Diabaly, Mali, January 21 2013.
  • Charred pickup trucks, which according to local villagers, belonged to al-Qaida-linked rebels and destroyed by French airstrikes, are seen in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013.
  • A French soldier secures a perimeter on the outskirts of Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013.
  • A Malian soldier walks inside a military camp used by radical Islamists and bombarded by French warplanes, in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013.
  • An unidentified man takes a picture of the charred remains of trucks used by radical Islamists on the outskirts of Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013.
  • A Malian soldier checks identity papers in the center of Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Munir Hatwawi from: Syria
January 21, 2013 5:20 PM
to all those who advocate intervention in Syria... be careful of what you hope for... you will have the Muslim Brotherhood (Al Qaeda) perpetrating the same atrocities you see before you on a much larger scale. Assad is bad, but the alternative is much much worse!!! there is a reason why the Israelis did not send their "Mechanics" to convert Assad into a can of dog food...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid