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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid