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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid