News / Africa

    African Troops Ready to Help Neighboring Mali Fighting Militants

    Vehicles cross on a bridge in the Malian capital of Bamako, January 12, 2013.
    Vehicles cross on a bridge in the Malian capital of Bamako, January 12, 2013.
    VOA News
    Troops from Mali's neighbors are expected to start arriving Sunday to help France in the third day of a battle to push back Islamic extremists in Mali's north.

    Niger, Burkina Faso and Senegal pledged on Saturday to send troops, one day after France started airstrikes against the militants.

    Officials said Saturday French forces pushed rebels from Konna with airstrikes and ground forces.  The recent militant takeover of the town northeast of the capital, Bamako, had put militants in a position to seize the nearby city of Mopti - the northern-most municipality under government control. 

    A reporter in Mali tells VOA French to Africa service that dozens of Islamist fighters were killed in the Konna operation.  The reporter also said the Malian army held the town late Saturday with retreating Islamists fighters holed up in the towns of Bore' and Douentza.

    French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le DrianFrench Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian
    x
    French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian
    French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian
    French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Saturday a French helicopter was downed and the pilot killed during the airstrikes on Konna, which began Friday.

    Al-Qaida-linked Ansar Dine militants responded to the strikes by threatening France with reprisals, prompting French President Francois Hollande to order heightened security across France.  French authorities also advised all French citizens in Mali to leave the country "temporarily."

    In London, British Prime Minister David Cameron ordered logistical assistance, including British transport planes, to assist the French military operation.

    In December, the U.N. 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.  None of those, however, had been expected in Mali until September.

    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.

    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.
    x
    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.
    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," the president said. "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.  All public services should put all vehicles that could be useful in the field at the service of the army without delay."

    This picture released by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office shows French soldiers boarding for Bamako at N'Djamena's airport, in Chad, Jan. 11, 2013.This picture released by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office shows French soldiers boarding for Bamako at N'Djamena's airport, in Chad, Jan. 11, 2013.
    x
    This picture released by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office shows French soldiers boarding for Bamako at N'Djamena's airport, in Chad, Jan. 11, 2013.
    This picture released by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office shows French soldiers boarding for Bamako at N'Djamena's airport, in Chad, Jan. 11, 2013.
    ​For his part, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said French forces in Mali are preparing for any rebel move aimed at Bamako, and that they will remain in the area as long as necessary.  Ayrault said the militants are to blame for much lawlessness, including kidnappings.

    Former colonial ruler France announced Friday that it had deployed troops to Mali at the request of the government.

    Diplomatic sources say Traore will meet with President Hollande in Paris Wednesday,  January 16.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Antony from: Kigali
    January 13, 2013 2:52 PM
    Thanks to the French government. We in Africa especially the local people are always helpless. We welcome all the big world powers to always come in and save us. Whener there is dictatorship and rebel attack possibilities, never delay please. Also encourage your colleagues; U.S.A and UK.

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora