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
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.
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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs