News / Africa

    Mali President Says No Talks With Islamists

    Mali's President Dioncounda Traore, center, visits the troops  on the military side of  Bamako's airport, January 16, 2013.
    Mali's President Dioncounda Traore, center, visits the troops on the military side of Bamako's airport, January 16, 2013.
    VOA News
    Mali's interim president, Dioncounda Traore, says he is refusing to hold talks with Islamists who controlled the north before French and Malian forces drove them out.

    But Traore told French radio Thursday he would consider meeting with the Tuareg rebel group MNLA if it drops its claim to Malian territory.

    The MNLA has been fighting for a Tuareg homeland. It seized part of northern Mali last year and later joined forces with Islamic militants when the Malian government collapsed.

    The Tuaregs later split with the militants when they imposed conservative Islamic law in the north, and the MNLA now says it backs the French military operation in Mali.

    Success

    French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C) poses with French soldiers as they prepare to depart for Mali during a visit at the military base of Miramas, southern France, January 25, 2013.French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C) poses with French soldiers as they prepare to depart for Mali during a visit at the military base of Miramas, southern France, January 25, 2013.
    x
    French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C) poses with French soldiers as they prepare to depart for Mali during a visit at the military base of Miramas, southern France, January 25, 2013.
    French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C) poses with French soldiers as they prepare to depart for Mali during a visit at the military base of Miramas, southern France, January 25, 2013.
    French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian Thursday declared the intervention in Mali a success Thursday, but added that Mali's situation is not yet secure. The minister said in an interview on French radio that the Malians must establish "a reconciliation process" to ensure a stable future.


    In Mali Thursday, an army spokesman, Captain Modibo Traore, told VOA that four soldiers were killed when their vehicle ran over a land mine near Gao. The blast wounded another five people.

    VOA correspondent Anne Look, who is traveling with French troops in Mali, says the presence of land mines has raised concerns about the safety of troops and civilians.

    "What's disturbing about this is that is does seem to confirm fears that the Islamists did mine roads or did leave booby traps for troops coming in, something we've been hearing about from residents of towns like Gao for a while," she said.

    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    x
    Click to enlarge
    Click to enlarge
    French-led forces were reported in control of three key towns in northern Mali Wednesday, after al-Qaida-linked militants fled their last stronghold and escaped into a vast desert region with their weapons.

    Insurgents mounted no resistance as French troops arrived at the Kidal airport late Tuesday, just days after they captured Gao and Timbuktu.

    Because the cities were recaptured so rapidly and easily, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said his country's forces will be leaving Mali sooner than expected. An African intervention force backed by the United Nations is preparing to deploy at least 6,000 troops to the region.

    Peacekeeping

    Chadian soldiers patrol the streets of Gao, northern Mali, January 29, 2013.Chadian soldiers patrol the streets of Gao, northern Mali, January 29, 2013.
    x
    Chadian soldiers patrol the streets of Gao, northern Mali, January 29, 2013.
    Chadian soldiers patrol the streets of Gao, northern Mali, January 29, 2013.
    The African troops will be responsible for holding the towns and tracking down Islamist fighters. French authorities say the insurgents melted into villages in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains and surrounding desert areas.

    The MNLA first launched a rebellion in the north last January seeking autonomy, but later joined the Islamists to seize control of the region following a coup in Bamako that toppled the government.  The Islamists later pushed the Tuaregs aside and moved to impose strict Islamic law.

    French forces launched an offensive against the Islamists nearly three weeks ago as the groups made a push in the direction of the capital, Bamako.

    An African-led force is being assembled to help secure Mali once the French forces leave.

    The U.S. State Department welcomed the successes of the French-led force, and said its replacements will be challenged to hold the newly liberated towns.  Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the African force faces the task of pursuing the Islamists to ensure they cannot regroup and return.

    • French soldiers patrol outside Djinguereber mosque after Friday prayers in the center of Timbuktu February 1, 2013.
    • People hold Malian and French flags during the reopening ceremony of Mahamane Fondogoumo elementary school in the town center of Timbuktu, February 1, 2013. 
    • Children celebrate holding a French flag during the reopening ceremony of Mahamane Fondogoumo elementary school in the town center of Timbuktu February 1, 2013.
    • Islamist rebel prisoners guarded by Malian gendarmes are seen at a military camp in the center of Timbuktu February 1, 2013.
    • Malian gendarmes show weapons used by Islamist rebels at a military camp in the center of Timbuktu February 1, 2013.
    • During an official visit organized by the French military, residents and journalists gather around a French Sagay tank positioned overlooking the bridge crossing the river Niger at the entrance of Gao, Mali, January 31, 2013.
    • During an official visit organized by the French military, French troops are positioned overlooking the bridge crossing the river Niger at the entrance of Gao, Mali, January 31, 2013.
    • Three Malian girls walk in the streets of Gao, Mali, January 31, 2013.
    • Chadian soldiers patrol the streets of Gao, Mali, January 29, 2013.
    • This photo released by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office shows a crowd cheering the arrival of French soldiers in Timbuktu, Mali, January 28, 2013.

    You May Like

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Matthew Evans from: Canada
    January 31, 2013 11:35 AM
    Let's not have any "Mission Accomplished" banners. I have a feeling there are going to be some more chapters to this story

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.