News / Africa

Mali PM Promises July Election During Gao Visit

Mali's Prime Minister Diango Cissoko (3rd L) reviews Nigerian soldiers at their base in the town of Banamba,150km (93 miles) from Bamako, April 9, 2013.
Mali's Prime Minister Diango Cissoko (3rd L) reviews Nigerian soldiers at their base in the town of Banamba,150km (93 miles) from Bamako, April 9, 2013.

Location

N8, Gao, Mali
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
Mali's acting prime minister promised during a visit to the war-torn north on Thursday elections would go ahead in July despite fears his government is failing to reassert its control there after the ousting of Islamist rebels.

Diango Cissoko's visit to Gao was the first by a senior government figure since a French-led campaign freed northern Mali's largest town from al-Qaida-linked rebels in January.  

Cissoko met with local dignitaries and Malian troops during the visit, and thanked French forces who helped take Gao and other northern towns from the militants. He also urged the French to stay in Mali.  France is planning to reduce its presence in the country from the current 4,000 troops to 1,000 by the end of this year.

France is pushing for presidential and legislative elections in three months. Mali has been mired in turmoil for a year, rocked by a Tuareg rebellion, an occupation of the north of the country by Islamic militants and a military coup.

"There is no question over the holding of elections in July. All the necessary steps are being and will be taken,'' Cissoko, part of a transitional government, told reporters in Gao.

However, analysts fear that preparations will not be completed by July and warn that a botched election could sow the seeds for further unrest and north-south conflict in the landlocked former French colony

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch says two ethnic Tuareg men who were tortured by Malian soldiers have died in prison.

The rights group, citing sources who knew the men, says the two men died in a Bamako prison the night of April 6 as a result of excessive heat.  It says they and five other men had been kept in an unventilated room during the hottest period of the year in Bamako, when temperatures can rise above 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit).

The men had been arrested in February on suspicion they supported armed Islamist groups.  Human Rights Watch called on Mali's interim government to investigate the deaths and improve conditions for all detainees.

Some information in this report provided by Reuters.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid