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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

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.

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 at the Union League Club 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