News / Africa

    French Troops Arriving Ready for Action in Mali

    French soldiers from the 2nd RIMA (French Navy Infantry Regiment), arriving from France, prepare at the 101 military airbase near Bamako, January 14, 2013.
    French soldiers from the 2nd RIMA (French Navy Infantry Regiment), arriving from France, prepare at the 101 military airbase near Bamako, January 14, 2013.
    Anne Look
    French forces are preparing for a possible ground assault in Mali against al-Qaida-linked rebels who have continued to push south despite five days of French aerial bombardments. 

    France has put 800 soldiers on the ground in Mali since it began its rapid deployment Friday at the request of the Malian government.

    The plan is to deploy 1,600 French soldiers in the short term and bring that number up to 2,500 in coming weeks.

    About 100 vehicles, including tanks and armored vehicles, arrived overland from Ivory Coast early Tuesday morning.  Other French troops are coming from Chad and France.

    French soldiers from the 1st company, 2nd regiment of Marines, continued preparations Tuesday for an eventual deployment from their base just outside the Bamako airport.   

    The head of the company, whose last name is withheld for security reasons, said they are ready for whatever mission is thrown at them.

    Captain Gregory says they are there to work in concert with the Malian military.  He says for now, the company is building its strength - troops continue to arrive and they are preparing their gear. He says they will be ready to head out when they have their orders.

    The captain says recent events have shown them that the "enemy is ready to fight and we should not underestimate them."

    A military spokesman said the French soldiers being deployed to Mali are experienced.  Many have already fought in Afghanistan, Lebanon or Ivory Coast.

    The al-Qaida-linked rebel groups in northern Mali who launched their offensive south last week are proving difficult to rout, in particular in the central west part of the country.  

    The heavily armed rebels swept around the Mauritanian border Monday and captured the town of Diabaly, around 400 kilometers from Bamako.  French airstrikes continued throughout the night, but residents told VOA Tuesday that the Islamists still hold the town.

    VOA spoke to a Diabaly resident who said the Islamists are not threatening the population.  He said he saw the bodies of some dead Malian soldiers, but it is unclear what happened to the rest who were stationed in the town.  

    Islamist rebels seized the northern half of Mali in April following a military coup in the south that further weakened an already ill-equipped and demoralized Malian army.

    The U.N. Security Council has called on West African regional bloc ECOWAS to accelerate plans to send regional troops to fight alongside the Malian army.

    ECOWAS defense chiefs of staff are in Bamako Tuesday to finalize plans to deploy as many as 3,300 soldiers to Mali in coming days and weeks.  Nigeria, Senegal, Niger and Burkina Faso are among the countries that have pledged troops.

    Nigerian Major General Shehu Abdulkadir will command the regional force.

    "This is a battle situation, and it requires a lot of planning, a lot of thinking because a lot of logistics is required.  And unless and until the planning is done properly, the mission will fail," he said. "The operation may fail, and we don't want to fail in this case.  Therefore, we are not late.  It is rather late, than never.  Which one would you prefer?  That we come in in a haste and don't get the mission accomplished.  Or we do proper planning and come in equipped."

    French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday that with the help of the African troops, they are confident of victory.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora