News / Africa

    France Tries to Calm Fears Over Mali Pullout

    France Tries to Calm Fears Over Mali Pullouti
    X
    April 06, 2013 12:54 AM
    France is planning to start withdrawing its troops from Mali later this month. This follows the intervention in January aimed at driving out Islamist militants who had taken the north of the country. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, France is trying to reassure Mali that the pullout is not premature.
    France Tries to Calm Fears Over Mali Pullout
    Henry Ridgwell
    France is planning to start withdrawing its troops from Mali later this month. This follows the intervention in January aimed at driving out Islamist militants who had taken the north of the country. France is trying to reassure Mali that the pullout is not premature.

    In the skies and on the ground, the French Foreign Legion patrols the remote mountains of northern Mali. The troops call this region 'Planet Mars.' The rugged Terz Valley is being used as a hideout by Islamist militants who were driven out of Mali's northern towns and cities.

    The patrol captain gives only his first name, Clement.

    "The herders have no vehicles and there have been no tourists here for a long time," he said. "In all of this zone there has only been jihadists, no civilians, no women, no children, no nomads. It was really a sanctuary for jihadists."

    French troop withdrawal

    France is due to start withdrawing its 4,000 troops from Mali at the end of this month. Visiting Bamako Friday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius assured his Malian counterpart that it would not be an "overnight" pullout.

    Fabius said this is the direction that needs to be taken, that there will be different political movements with their free political ideas, and it is necessary that a path of dialogue is found.

    France will gradually hand over to a United Nations-backed African force of 6,300 in the next few weeks, before an expected U.N. peacekeeping force arrives in July. French troops will make up some of that contingent.

    Paul Melly, from policy institute Chatham House, said, "Of course there's always a risk that the jihadists may try to re-stage some sort of comeback, but you've got the Chadians still in force in northern Mali and they're going to be continuing the battle against jihadist elements, and one suspects that actually the French will keep some units, particularly special forces."

    EU training base

    Sixty kilometers north of Bamako, the European Union is building a training base to improve the capability of the Malian army, which analysts say is poorly paid and ill-equipped. In addition to French trainers, there are soldiers from several European countries.

    Lieutenant Colonel Laurent Vieillefosse, who is the commander, said "For the Malian forces, we want to train a battalion of men in 10 weeks. We will proceed step by step."

    A battalion, in this case, is 650 men.

    Malian Foreign Minister Tieman Send Coulibaly said there is a long rebuilding process ahead for his country's army.

    "We need many things," he said. "We need personal arms, we need flak jackets, for example, and helmets. But above all we need to build a republican spirit."

    The reconciliation process will be difficult, but not impossible, said Melly of Chatham House. "Northern Mali had many problems but it's a socially complex area, it's not dominated by any one ethnic group. And the jihadists never had the support of more than a very small slice of the population."

    Melly said that Mali is trying to rebuild the nation as quickly as possible. The president has announced elections for July, despite fears that such a short timeframe will prove impractical.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora