News / Africa

Journalist Murders in Mali Won't Derail Troop Drawdown, France Says

A poster with the portraits of reporter Ghislaine Dupont (R), 51, and radio technician Claude Verlon, 58, two French journalists killed in Mali last week, is seen at the entrance of Radio France International building near Paris on November 5, 2013.
A poster with the portraits of reporter Ghislaine Dupont (R), 51, and radio technician Claude Verlon, 58, two French journalists killed in Mali last week, is seen at the entrance of Radio France International building near Paris on November 5, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Anne Look
— France says its timetable for withdrawing troops from Mali remains firm despite an upsurge in violence and the kidnapping and execution of two French journalists. 

French and Malian authorities continue their search for the four armed men who grabbed the journalists Saturday in the northern rebel stronghold of Kidal. 
Radio France International reports that dozens of people have been arrested in northern Mali in connection with the killing of RFI journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon outside Kidal on Saturday.

The French government says the killings were the work of "terrorist groups."  French newspaper Le Monde is reporting possible links between the kidnappers and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

The grabbing of the two journalists came just days after the liberation of four French hostages in neighboring Niger.  The men had been held by AQIM for three years.

The French government said it did not pay a ransom, but French media reported that as much as $27 million exchanged hands.  

Analysts say that while we do not yet know the identity and intentions of the men who grabbed the journalists in Kidal, the timing raises questions.

Mohamed Ould Mahmoud, a leader of the Arab berebiche community in Timbuktu, says "you have to ask: was this a consequence of that ransom payment?  Who won and who lost out in that deal?  Who was strengthened by that money?"

He said there are many possible scenarios.  This could have been the work of armed men who saw that the kidnap-for-ransom business was up and running again and so grabbed the journalists hoping to sell them.  Or this could have been about revenge, perhaps disgruntled intermediaries who are typically involved in hostage negotiations but who may have been kept out of this most recent deal.

Analysts say the tragedy underlines the confused and precarious security situation in Kidal, the birthplace of the Tuareg separatist movement, the MNLA.  That rebellion is on hold ahead of peace talks slated to get underway by the end of the year.

The MNLA continue to move freely, but they aren't the only armed fighters in the area, and there is crossover and overlap between groups.

There are also French, Malian and U.N. troops in Kidal.

France sent another 150 soldiers up to Kidal this week but says it still plans to draw down its troops in Mali from 3,000 to 1,000 by the end of the year.

France intervened in Mali in January to stop a southern advance by the al-Qaida-linked Islamist groups who had controlled northern Mali for nearly a year.

Sweeps continue throughout the formerly occupied zones which have been hit by suicide bombings and other attacks since being liberated.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid