News / Africa

France Continues Mali Air Strikes, Sends Tank Convoy North

French soldiers refuel armored personnel carriers that were driven into the Malian capital from Ivory Coast, at a air base in Bamako, January 15, 2013.
French soldiers refuel armored personnel carriers that were driven into the Malian capital from Ivory Coast, at a air base in Bamako, January 15, 2013.
VOA News
A convoy of French tanks rolled out of Mali's capital Tuesday, heading to northern regions controlled by Islamist militants.
 
VOA correspondent Anne Look, who is on the ground in Bamako, says the tanks appear to be headed to join French military positions. France is building up its forces in Mali, sending in tanks and armored vehicles while carrying out new airstrikes against militants.
 
Look reports that 100 French vehicles arrived from neighboring Ivory Coast Tuesday, and that more troops are coming from Chad and France.
 
Meanwhile, witnesses say French warplanes attacked the town of Diabaly overnight, just hours after Islamist fighters took control of the area, 400 kilometers north of Bamako. Residents said Tuesday that the militants still hold the town.

  • A French soldier holds his weapon in the village of Sarakala, Mali, January 18, 2013.
  • Goats walk past a French military convoy refuelling in Markala, Mali, January 18, 2013.
  • People cross a strategic bridge over a dam on the Niger River secured by French forces in Markala, Mali, January 18, 2013.
  • A Malian soldier checks the identity of people crossing a strategic bridge over a dam on the Niger River secured by French forces in Markala, Mali, January 18, 2013.
  • French military vehicles drive to the north of Mali, at an undisclosed location, January 16, 2013. (French Army Communication Audiovisual Office)
  • French helicopters are towed to the military side of Bamako's airport, Mali, January 16, 2013.
  • A motorcyclist waves his support as French troops in two armored personnel carriers drive through Mali's capital Bamako on the road to Mopti, January 15, 2013.
  • French soldiers walk past a hangar they are staying at the Malian army air base in Bamako, January 14, 2013.
  • French soldiers test equipment at the Malian air base in Bamako, January 14, 2013.
  • French air force technicians work on a Mirage F-1 fighter jet at the Malian army air base in Bamako, January 14, 2013.
  • A French soldiers lies on his mattress in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako, January 14, 2013.

French defense officials say their military contingent in Mali will gradually rise to 2,500. Nigeria says it will deploy its first troops to Mali by Wednesday, part of a planned West African coalition force to help Mali's army retake the north.
 
French President Francois Hollande said in Dubai Tuesday that French forces will stay in Mali until the situation is stabilized.
 
Al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists seized control of northern Mali after renegade soldiers toppled the government in March, leaving a temporary power vacuum. Militants have imposed harsh conservative Islamic law across the north.
 
Western and United Nations officials are concerned the Islamists could turn Mali into a base for terrorists and criminals.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
France deployed forces in Mali on Friday at the request from the country's interim government after Islamists began advancing southward. Mali is a former French colony and France still has a variety of economic and political interests there.
 
Hollande said France's goals are stopping terrorist aggression, securing Bamako, and allowing Mali to recover its territorial integrity. He also said France will support the African force that will soon be in Mali.
 
The West African bloc ECOWAS is speeding up its planned deployment to Mali for the same reason. ECOWAS communications director Sonny Ugoh said officials sense the need to act quickly.

Foreign Troop Commitments to Mali

  • France 2,000 on the ground, 500 more committed
  • Chad to send 2,000
  • Nigeria to send 1,200
  • Benin to send 650
  • Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Togo have committed 500 each
  • Guinea and Ghana are also sending troops
  •  
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday the United States supports French efforts in Mali but is not sending troops.
 
The United Nations refugee agency said Tuesday that the latest clashes have driven more than 1,000 Malians into neighboring countries. It says the total number of Malian refugees in the region now stands at 144,000, and that more than 200,000 Malians are displaced within the country.

VOA's Anne Look contributed to this report.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: edmays from: brick nj
January 16, 2013 12:39 AM
All I can say is I`m glad no American politicians are pushing for us to have boots on the ground...that`s a breath of fresh air after all the wars we have been in lately. And a good show by the new French President who didn`t hesitate to take action...Viva La France.

by: Igor from: Russia
January 16, 2013 12:33 AM
The French must not forget their defeat in Dien Bien Phu 59 years ago or they will be taught a new leason. This is the 21st century now.
In Response

by: Duncan McNeil from: USA
January 16, 2013 6:52 PM
Yes it is - and Chechyna is much more recent than DBP. France is trying to stem the tide and while I'm hardly a Francophile - I support them 100% in this task. Good on them!! I hope the US government and people help them in any way they need it and ask for it.

by: musawi melake from: -
January 15, 2013 8:31 PM
All these acts in the name of helping the country is simply to establish a French foot hold that was absent since colonial times. Unless and until the Africans realize(there are many corrupt leaders who can be coerced and threatened to comply with the West) that they are being used against each other to exploit them, there'll be not end to this. While France fights for other countries's integrity, the Basque region that it occupies should be liberated so that the people of the region can enjoy freedom.

by: Nik from: US
January 15, 2013 10:40 AM
The rebels did not attack any country. Basically the rebels are the majority of people of Mali who want an Islamic state in their own country. Through popular revolution they threw out the unwanted government to gain freedom. The West decides to brand them as terrorist and prop-up the unwanted government over the people of Mali and impose a dictatorship while unnecessarily making enemies of people of Mali. In the long run the campaign is bound to fail. The West will use its unmatched weaponry in Mali and will get its way now but the will of people cannot be suppressed forever. In a few decades the West would find itself on the wrong side of history. One thing the policy makers in the West have been lacking and still lack is wisdom. Most policies are short sighted.
In Response

by: Nyero from: Tanzania
January 16, 2013 1:20 AM
It is not true that the majority of the Islamic Extremists are Malians.Let us conduct research. The world should cooperate to hit hard as non sense in the name of religion. It is not written any where in religoius books. It is just lack of knowlegde. Sahel area could be used by the terrorists as their launching base. There is a shift from the Middleeast to the Horn of Africa, Maghreb and to the Sahel area. No space of non sense in this contemporary world.
In Response

by: Leke from: US
January 15, 2013 4:21 PM
An Islamic State to start amputating the citizens hands, deny women of education and their rights, deny children of good education that they can use in Mali and any other part of the World. You better go and live in Iran and its likes and get out of the society that gives you and any other right thinking human beings equal opportunity. Do you realize that the world is a global village that the kids of Mali can grow, be educated and relate in future with other growing kids in the rest of the rightful thinking world? Think as a right thinking human being with secularity in mind but not as a religious fanatic.
In Response

by: Jay from: China
January 15, 2013 1:34 PM
You're wrong!. All of these Radical Islamic States that are building up in the middle east and african nations are all connected to Iran's major plans to take control and influence the entire region.

The only peacefull legitimate Islamic Country in the middle-east by now are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Lebanon and some others..

Look at Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and even Pakistan are at chaos because of this radical islamic systems masterminded by IRAN.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs