News / Africa

Reports: Malian, French Forces Retake Second Town

x
By Megan Duzor

Officials in Mali say French-backed government forces have retaken a second town that had been seized by Islamist militants.
 
Local officials say militants have been driven out of Diabaly, located about 400 kilometers northeast of the capital, Bamako. There was no immediate confirmation of the re-capture from Mali's military or French forces.
 
Earlier, the Malian army and French officials said Malian forces had retaken Konna, a town east of Diabaly.
 
"We would even say that the Malian army and the Islamist fighters are playing cat and mouse," said Bamako-based VOA correspondent Idrissa Fall, who added that pockets of resistance likely remain in Konna. Mali's army has previously reported military successes in Konna, but the claims are difficult to verify, because journalists have had difficulty accessing the city.
 
The militant takeover of the town last week prompted France to intervene in its former colony. The one-week-old counter-offensive by French and West African regional troops appears to have stopped the southward advance of the al-Qaida-linked fighters who still apparently control northern Mali.
 
Fall says Malians in the capital are cheering the arrival of French forces.
 
"People driving, on their cars you will see French flags, kids setting French flags on the streets. People you talk with, all of them are very happy with the military intervention," he said. "Even the political leaders who had been fighting since the coup, all of them now say, 'Thank you France.'"
 
French officials say 1,800 troops are now in Mali, and that the force, which will be increased to 2,500 in coming days, will remain in the country until the situation is stabilized.
 
West African military chiefs say 2,000 troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Togo will soon arrive in Mali as part of a United Nations-authorized force.
 
Fall said that once the troops arrive there is still much work that needs to be done to organize the forces, explaining there is a "need for a headquarters to be established so that ground operations can be carried out." He described coordination as essential to battling heavily armed Islamist forces know the terrain well and move around it easily.
 
Little information flows from towns in northern Mali because communication has been cut off, Fall added, apparent "acts of sabotage by Islamists who accuse local populations of complicity."
 
Meanwhile, leaders of the ECOWAS West African regional bloc are preparing for a summit in Ivory Coast on Saturday to discuss additional measures for resolving the crisis. Ahead of the meeting, ECOWAS commission chairman Desire Kadre Ouedraogo said the situation on the ground in Mali required immediate action.
 
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland has said the U.S. is providing assistance to foreign forces in the region.
 
"We have deployed about 100 trainers to Africa," said Nuland. "They are traveling to Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo, and Ghana to discuss training, equipping and deployment needs of those countries."
 
Al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists seized control of northern Mali after renegade soldiers toppled the government in March, leaving a temporary power vacuum. The militants have since imposed harsh conservative Islamic law across the north.
 
As the foreign intervention entered its second week, new signs of a worsening humanitarian situation have emerged.
 
The U.N. refugee agency says it expects an increased wave of Malians to flee their homes in the coming months. An agency spokesperson said Friday it is preparing for 300,000 to be displaced inside the country and for 400,000 to leave for neighboring countries.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid