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.
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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid