News / Africa

Mali Residents Wary As French Troops Withdraw

Mali Residents Wary about French Withdrawali
X
April 12, 2013
France has pulled its first 100 soldiers out of Mali, part of a gradual draw-down. It intervened in northern Mali, three months ago, to halt an Islamist advance south and reclaim territory occupied by the al-Qaida-linked militants since last April. The French now plan to hand over security for much of the region to an eventual UN stabilization mission of African troops. VOA's Anne Look reports from Gao where fighting continues to flare and residents say they are not sure the Malian and African troops are ready to do it alone.
TEXT SIZE - +
Anne Look
— France has pulled its first 100 soldiers out of Mali, part of a gradual drawdown to bring their 4,000 troops there down to just 1,000 by the end of the year.

Three months ago, France intervened in northern Mali ago to halt an Islamist advance south and reclaim territory occupied by the al-Qaida-linked militants since last April.

The French now plan to hand over security for much of the vast, 800,000 kilometer region to an eventual United Nations stabilization mission of African troops that could number more than 11,000.

French military patrols roll through Gao's neighborhoods like clockwork. It is textbook counterinsurgency. Residents say it is reassuring. But they are leaving.

The French have done most of the heavy lifting in this war. Only time will tell whether those air strikes and desert sweeps have rooted out most of the insurgents or simply sent them underground to bide their time until the big guns leave.

The Malian army has struggled to fend off the small groups of jihadists who have been sneaking back into Gao to mount attacks since the city's liberation on January 26.

Gao residents, like Imam Hama Maiga, say they are not sure the Malian army can keep them safe.

"We need to be able to trust our men, the Malian army. We need to cooperate with them…. And, whatever training it is that the French have, we want our army to have the same so that they can take over the security of this country," said Maiga.

In Gao, the Malian army is still working to win the trust of the local community, and vice versa.

At a neighborhood gathering, the mother of one of three young men beaten by Malian soldiers at a checkpoint brought up the incident to Lt. Col. Nema Sagara, army second-in-command in the north.

"The three youth ran after the military had called on them to stop. When someone flees, the soldiers think it is an enemy," Sagara explained. "The soldiers at these posts had been fired upon the night before and that is why they beat up the youth. But it could have been worse, they could have fired on them. Tell your children. When, we tell you to stop, stop."

France is gradually turning over security in parts of the Gao region to West African regional troops from Niger and Senegal.  Analysts say these regional soldiers are not much better equipped or better trained for this type of asymmetrical warfare than their Malian counterparts.

Gao's residents say all they can do is wait and see.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
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.
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.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid