News / Africa

    Malian Military Takes Aim at Kidal

    FILE - Soldiers from the Tuareg rebel group MNLA drive in a convoy of pickup trucks in the northeastern town of Kidal, Mali, February 4, 2013.
    FILE - Soldiers from the Tuareg rebel group MNLA drive in a convoy of pickup trucks in the northeastern town of Kidal, Mali, February 4, 2013.

    Location

    Kidal, Mali
    Anne Look
    Mali is reportedly readying its troops to retake the far northeastern town of Kidal.  Kidal is currently controlled by the Tuareg separatist group, the MNLA, which says it will negotiate but will not disarm beforehand or let the Malian army enter the town. 

    Malian military sources in the northern town of Gao tell VOA that a sizable number of soldiers and military police left the town last week headed north toward Kidal.

    A military spokesman in Bamako told reporters Wednesday that the liberation of Kidal is the ultimate objective but declined to give further details, saying they would "see in coming days."

    Questions remain as to whether the army really could or really would attack Kidal.  It is not clear whether reported troop movements and tough talk aren't just meant to push forward negotiations.

    Kidal remains a sore point in Mali.  Many insist that its ambiguous status must be dealt with before elections can go ahead in July.

    Kidal is the only major northern town not to return to Malian army control since French forces arrived in January and led a drive that drove al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants out of northern Mali's towns and cities, including Kidal.

    Kidal is the seat of the Tuareg separatist group, the MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad), whose fight for northern independence began in January 2012 and triggered the ongoing nationwide crisis just two months later.

    Both the MNLA and the government have said publicly they want to negotiate, but talks haven't gotten off the ground.  The government says rebels must disarm before talks.

    A group of Tuareg notables, local chiefs and elected officials in Kidal created the High Council of Azawad (territory in northern Mali) on May 2.  The council is trying to corral members of the armed groups in Kidal, including the MNLA, to negotiations.

    Council president Mohamed ag Intallah says reconciliation is the top priority and that Malian authorities need to give them more time.

    "The council is asking for at the moment is that Malian authorities stop hostilities, stop the army's mission, and give them a chance to find a peaceful solution.  They want the residents of Azawad to come together at one table," said Mohammed ag Intallah, an influential figure in Kidal.  He is the eldest son of the region's traditional tribal chief.  But it is unclear how much support the newly created council has in the MNLA.

    The MNLA says it is the government of Mali that has not been serious about negotiations.

    The MNLA has agreed to give up its demand for independence and is ready to meet the conditions of the international community to accelerate dialogue," said MNLA spokesman Moussa ag Attaher. "If today Mali decides to turn a deaf ear and ventures to attack any of the six localities under MNLA control, the MNLA will have no choice but to defend itself and the local population with 'every ounce of its determination.'"

    Amadou Maiga contributed reporting from Bamako, Mali.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora