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

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Crowdfunding Helps Save Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit

Smithsonian turns to Kickstarter to raise more than $700,000 to help preserve the spacesuit worn by the first man to walk on the moon More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs