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

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs