News / Europe

France Launches Airstrikes in Mali to Support Government

Mali's interim president, Dioncounda Traore (Back center R), speaks with ministers during a cabinet meeting at which a national state of emergency was declared, in Bamako, January 11, 2013.
Mali's interim president, Dioncounda Traore (Back center R), speaks with ministers during a cabinet meeting at which a national state of emergency was declared, in Bamako, January 11, 2013.
VOA News
France has carried out airstrikes in Mali to support government forces trying to stem advances by Islamist militants.

France's foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, confirmed the air raids Friday, but declined to give more details about the military operation.

France announced earlier Friday that it had deployed troops to Mali at the request of the government. Troops from Nigeria and Senegal also are in Mali to help government forces.   

Malian military officials say the attack has stopped the offensive by Islamist rebels. The rebels, who control all of the north of the country, had pushed south this week, taking the town of Konna. Malian military officials say government troops have now taken back the town.

Map of MaliMap of Mali
x
Map of Mali
Map of Mali
Mali's interim president, Dioncounda Traore, declared a national state of emergency Friday and called on every Malian to help in the war effort.

"Every Malian, man and woman, should from here on out consider oneself to be a soldier of the nation and behave as such. We call on all mining, telephone and other companies, as well as all people morally and physically able, to contribute to this fight against terrorism," said Traore. "All public services should put all vehicles that could be useful in the field at the service of the army without delay."

French President Francois Hollande said the French forces are helping to fight what he called "terrorist elements" in Mali.

"This operation will last as long as necessary. I will keep the French regularly informed about its proceedings," said Hollande. "The terrorists must know that France will always be here, when it comes to not only its fundamental interests, but also the rights of a population, that of Mali, which wants to live freely and in a democracy.''

Mali's president had asked France, the country's former colonial ruler, for immediate help in stopping the rebel advance. Diplomatic sources say Traore will meet with Hollande in Paris next Wednesday.

France's Foreign Ministry has advised French citizens in Mali to leave the country "temporarily," while the U.S. embassy in Bamako is urging Americans against all travel to the West African country.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States is consulting very closely with France's government.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Friday that Britain supports the French decision to intervene militarily.

Last month, the United Nations Security Council approved a plan for West African states to deploy at least 3,000 troops to Mali to help train the army and retake the north. But until this week, no troops had been expected in Mali until September.

The Islamists' takeover of Konna on Thursday placed the militant force within 25 kilometers from Mopti, the northernmost city under Malian government control. The militant groups are still several hundred kilometers from Bamako.

On Thursday, the government ordered all schools closed in the capital and in the nearby garrison town of Kati, citing the threat of civil unrest.  

The order, which covers kindergarten through university, came as state television broadcast a statement saying in part that the country faces "one of the direst periods in its history." It urged all citizens "to unite behind the army in the fight to take back the north."

Al-Qaida-linked groups took control of Mali's north soon after renegade soldiers overthrew the country's elected president last March. The groups have imposed a harsh form of Islamic law on the areas in their control, drawing condemnation from human rights groups.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: See 4 yourself
January 13, 2013 8:07 AM
JFK come and live in Africa and then you can really understand the situation on the ground. So easy to comment from the safety
of Canada, a remote location. France has done what France should do, just wish the UK had the same - another story another time


by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
January 12, 2013 5:36 PM
France has agreements with most of its former colonies, to assist the gvmts as requested. Those agreements include military assistance as requested by the nation. France has sent its forces to ex-colonies, at the request of the national gvmt, especially the smaller nations, to help usually in natural disasters. The request by Algeria, during the recent civil war, I believe was the one time France did not help on the ground. So this is not that unusual situation for France. It is good for France to honor its agreements, and help its African allies, when they so request. I just hope it does not turn into a 10 yr+ committment.


by: See 4 Yourself
January 12, 2013 7:30 AM
Unfortunately no one helped in Zimbabwe, they were abandoned
The same is happening now, can you hear the "silence".?


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
January 12, 2013 3:22 AM
I think arms are not justified and never work well whatever as the means to resolve disputes among opponents. I have faith France should take pain to tell Islamists that the best way to control people is not to pursuade them to obey the one-way faith but to let them free to seek the faith they naturally could worship.


by: joekanuck from: Canada
January 12, 2013 12:31 AM
So let me get this straight; when islamist rebels, (aligned with Al Qaeda), try to overthrow the Syrian regime, they are freedom fighters, and when islamists, (aligned with Al Qaeda), rebel against the Mali regime, they are terrorists.


by: Jayson
January 11, 2013 10:13 AM
Just hope the UN can approve the offer of assistance.
Clear that there was a problem with Syria and it stalled.
Security Council decisions have failed many people sadly.

In Response

by: ORGirl from: Oregon
January 11, 2013 7:21 PM
I don't have too much faith in the U.N. to do anything but sit around and wring their hands wondering what to do next.

In Response

by: DRJJ from: USA
January 11, 2013 12:18 PM
Al-Qaida ruining another country! When will muslim leaders around the globe stand up and say enough?? Stop all tourism, aid and trade with any country embracing Al-Qaida and others like them-it's the only way they'll learn to live peacefully with others! Let's hear from muslim leaders loud and clear across the globe-if we all police these idiots they'll stop the hate/evil!


by: Gold Hoarder
January 11, 2013 8:17 AM
How noble of Mr Hollande to help the inferior races out. What selfless leaders the West has.

In Response

by: joekanuck from: Canada
January 12, 2013 12:34 AM
That sounds like the 21st century version of the 'domino theory', which created so much fun in Vietnam. The communist horde never took over the world...neither will the Muslims.

In Response

by: Carlos Weaver from: Virginia, US
January 11, 2013 7:29 PM
Gold Hoarder's comment above makes no sense whatever.

The French are helping an African nation to be overrun by the local version of the Taliban. This has nothing to do with race, but with extremists trying to force their, in this case absurd, beliefs and way of life on others.

In Response

by: ORGirl from: Oregon
January 11, 2013 7:16 PM
It's not about 'what selfless leaders the west has.' It's about stemming the tide of radical Islamists. If we don't do something about it now we'll all be praying to Allah.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid