News / Europe

France Takes Bold Action to Counter Islamists in Africa

This picture released by the French Army shows French soldiers of the 21st Marine Infantry Regiment during a briefing before flying to Bamako, the capital from Mali, at the N'Djamena airport in Chad, Jan. 11, 2013.
This picture released by the French Army shows French soldiers of the 21st Marine Infantry Regiment during a briefing before flying to Bamako, the capital from Mali, at the N'Djamena airport in Chad, Jan. 11, 2013.
Lisa Bryant
French troops sustained their first losses, after launching a military offensive against Islamist radicals in Mali and a failed hostage rescue attempt in Somalia.  Both developments represent a new, more muscular reaction by the French government to the Islamist threat in Africa.

In less than 24 hours, France has launched two offensives against Islamists in East and West Africa, and sustained its first casualties. At a news conference in Paris Saturday, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced the death of a French helicopter pilot during an operation against Islamist insurgents in southern Mali.

Le Drian defended France's military action in Mali, saying that a terrorist offensive in the West African country threatens the security not only of the region, but also of Europe. Like President Francois Hollande, who announced the intervention on Friday, he said the operation would last as long as necessary.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian talks to the press in Paris on Jan. 12, 2013.French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian talks to the press in Paris on Jan. 12, 2013.
x
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian talks to the press in Paris on Jan. 12, 2013.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian talks to the press in Paris on Jan. 12, 2013.
Le Drian said the intervention came at the request of the Bamako government and other African states, following intelligence reports that three Islamist groups were preparing a major offensive in southern Mali. Besides beating back the Islamists, he said France also aims to secure Mali's stability and protect the lives of French and European nationals there.
 
Le Drian also said one French soldier was killed killed and another was missing in a separate military operation in Somalia - an unsuccessful attempt to rescue a French national held hostage there for more than three years. The defense minister reported 17 Islamists were killed, and he said the hostage also died. In Somalia, however, al-Shabab insurgents said the hostage is still alive and in their custody.

Le Drian said the two operations were not directly linked, but that the Islamist advance in Mali reinforced the power of other radical groups holding hostages in Africa.

French Army photo shows a French fighter pilot preparing to take off at Kossei camp in Chad, Jan. 11, 2013.French Army photo shows a French fighter pilot preparing to take off at Kossei camp in Chad, Jan. 11, 2013.
x
French Army photo shows a French fighter pilot preparing to take off at Kossei camp in Chad, Jan. 11, 2013.
French Army photo shows a French fighter pilot preparing to take off at Kossei camp in Chad, Jan. 11, 2013.
The French offensive marks a reversal in Hollande's initial policy of supporting Bamako in training and logistics, but not intervening militarily in its former colony.

In an interview with France 24 television, a member of the Malian radical group Ansar Dine threatened reprisals against France.

But the government's strong action in Africa has drawn support across the political spectrum. In a Twitter note, British Foreign Secretary William Hague praised the move, as did former Senegalese Minister and think-thank head Cheik Tidiane Gadio. Gadio told RFI radio that France is not acting like a former colonial power, but as a defender of human rights in a country where terrorists are taking over.  

Hollande's predecessor as president, Nicolas Sarkozy, also intervened militarily in West Africa, carrying out airstrikes in Ivory Coast in 2011 that helped end a longstanding conflict there.

You May Like

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lu from: LA
January 13, 2013 1:23 PM
African rebel troops have better surrunder, they can not match. The consequence of fighting is african people die.


by: Mau
January 13, 2013 10:49 AM
"France is not acting like a former colonial power, but as a defender of human rights in a country where terrorists are taking over."

That's exactly what the colonial powers do; act friendly towards the people they want to exploit and take advantage of.
Like Malcolm X once said about the white man,

"nowhere in history has he been brotherly toward anyone, the only time he's brotherly towards you is when he can use you, when he can exploit you, when he can oppress you, when you will submit to him..."

The article itself mentions the positive political response this move has gotten. Unsurprisingly, the response comes from other european colonialist powers. And the alleged support from African states most likely comes from corrupt government officials who don't give a damn about their own countries. No self respecting man, especially the African man, would ever ask for anything of any European nation that has oppressed them in the past; other than to stay out of their business.
France; rather Europe in general has done enough damage to Africa already, and their history proves it, so it's not a matter of personal opinion or biased feelings.

But these facts and ideology alone, have been enough to get more than one extraordinary man assassinated. So I'd like to remember the great heroes and revolutionaries of the African continent such as Sankara, Lumumba, Cabral, Machel, just to name a few; whose ideals and hopes for a better Africa are and will continue to be trampled by heinous demonstrations of hypocrisy such as these.


by: Chris from: L.A.
January 13, 2013 2:08 AM
What do you people not understand?

"the intervention came at the request of the Bamako government and other African states ... following intelligence reports that three Islamist groups were preparing a major offensive in southern Mali. Besides beating back the Islamists, he said France also aims to secure Mali's stability and protect the lives of French and European nationals there."

In Response

by: Alexandru Fira from: Romania
January 14, 2013 1:17 PM
Well, for those who protest against foreign intervention against the islamist rebels, I wish you to live the rest of your lives under the islamist regime.


by: peter from: USA/African
January 12, 2013 6:22 PM
France is there to occupied Mali. Infact most of the people they cliam to have killed are civilians. Ofcourse Africa is still not free. But atleast African are now getting up to free themselves. France will never do anything good in Africa. The partners of the French are the Arabs in these areas who came there during Slave times. Why is France now turning against the Islamist? France is fighting for Europe (LIE)? Germany don't need French fighting for them.


by: Socius from: Canada
January 12, 2013 5:00 PM
"Bold" action indeed. Bombing a rag tag group of poorly armed and poorly trained militants from a jet where they can't be hit back. Really brave of those Frenchmen! Haha.

In Response

by: sochi
January 14, 2013 5:27 AM
That's not true. Those militants were able to take down an aircraft with machineguns. You wouldn't consider machineguns to be "poorly armed" if you're taking fire from it from a plane or copter. It also takes a lot of balls to fly plane, let alone fly it in a combat mission where you can get shot down.


by: JAMES C LANGELLE from: CALIFORNIA
January 12, 2013 4:56 PM
"There is the lieutenant of the 4th Regiment Damien Boiteux helicopter gunships (RHC) Pau who was evacuated from the nearest medical facility before succumbing to his injuries,"

OPERATION WOLVERINE--MALI

http://militarybureau.blogspot.com


by: Matthew Hannon from: Vermont
January 12, 2013 4:13 PM
Vive La France.


by: hajji92
January 12, 2013 4:06 PM
Here we go again!!France stay out!This is'nt your colony anymore-so what are you going to do?Install your puppet in the seat after you run the so called "terrorists" out,then rape the region of it's resources or strategic importance-havent we seen this M.O. before!

In Response

by: freamanz from: Earth
January 12, 2013 4:54 PM
Bravo : hajji92,Could not have said it better.Nice to see a smart one every once in a while

In Response

by: Ted36 from: Canada
January 12, 2013 4:29 PM
Would you be happy if violent terrorists were taking over your country? (Where have you been if you doubt that they are terrorists?) Would it be any consolation to you that these terrorists claimed your nationality or would you rather someone from outside rescued you?

Your statement about what France is likely to do to abuse the situation is pure assumption.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid