News / Africa

Mali Mediation Bid Postponed after Skirmishes

Members of Ansar Dine and Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad during a meeting in Algiers, Algeria, December 21, 2012.
Members of Ansar Dine and Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad during a meeting in Algiers, Algeria, December 21, 2012.
Nancy Palus
— West African mediators have postponed talks between Malian officials and the armed groups occupying the country’s north, after skirmishes this week between the army and the al-Qaida-linked militants.  Regional leaders had hoped a meeting set for Thursday would stave off hostilities after one of the militant groups announced it was suspending a ceasefire. 

Talks between Malian officials, Tuareg separatists and leaders of the Islamist militant groups occupying northern Mali have been postponed to January 19, according to an aide to Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré, the official mediator.

The aide did not say why the talks were being pushed back but the move comes amid tensions between the Malian army and militant groups near the town of Douentza, the southernmost town held by the militants.  On Monday the army fired on militant fighters to repel what the Defense Ministry says was an attempted attack.

In a communiqué read out on state television Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said the armed groups advanced south toward army positions and the army pushed them back.

Referring to the militant groups as “terrorists and armed al-Qaida Islamists,” the Defense Ministry said the Malian army saw no casualties, contrary to some reports.

As of Wednesday morning all was calm at the sight of the skirmish, says Defense Ministry spokesperson Lt Col Diarran Koné.

He says all is calm and things have returned to normal in Mopti, the garrison town at the edge of the government-controlled zone.

In an interview with VOA, Koné called the militants “criminals, terrorists, and drug traffickers” and said the army is on alert and “stands ready to end the suffering of the Malian people once and for all."

Last month, Ansar Dine, one of the groups controlling northern Mali, announced a ceasefire.  But it suspended the ceasefire last week, saying the Malian government was not showing a will to negotiate.

Mali’s north has been occupied by Ansar Dine and other al-Qaida-linked groups since April.  For months Mali and pan-African organizations have been drawing up plans for a West African military force to intervene.  The United Nations Security Council has approved a plan for the Economic Community of West African States to deploy at least 3,000 troops to Mali to help retrain the army and retake the north.

But the regional force is not expected to intervene until the latter part of this year, and regional and international leaders have expressed hope for a negotiated solution.

Reached by telephone this week, Ansar Dine spokesperson Sanda ould Boumama would not comment on whether the armed groups in the north were pushing southward.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid