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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    Party's presumptive presidential nominee, her vice presidential pick deliver optimistic message in Florida as they campaign for first time together

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora