News / Africa

    Malian Troops Advance on Last Rebel-Held Stronghold

    x
    Reuters
    Malian special forces advanced towards the rebel-held town of Kidal on Thursday on a scouting mission ahead of a possible assault on the last stronghold of the Tuareg separatist MNLA, a day before peace talks were due to begin.
     
    Government troops captured a village about 100 km (60 miles) south of Kidal on Wednesday after heavy fighting, the first clashes with the rebels since France led a military offensive in January to drive out Islamists militants from northern Mali.
     
    The French campaign broke a 10-month occupation of northern Mali by al-Qaida-linked groups, but left Kidal under the control of the MNLA in a further hurdle to government efforts to unify the west African country.
     
    Army spokesman Colonel Souleymane Maiga said that Malian forces were consolidating their positions around the village of Anefis while preparing to advance on Kidal.
     
    Military sources said on Wednesday that Malian troops had, by nightfall, advanced to the village of Amessine, 37 km (23 miles) from Kidal, and reinforcements were being sent north from the towns of Gao and Menaka.
     
    “Special forces are on a reconnaissance mission in the area around Kidal,” Maiga said. “We have been informed that MNLA fighters are trying to use the non-Tuareg population as human shields to block our entrance into the town.”
     
    The Malian army has promised to retake the town before the presidential election scheduled for July 28. The MNLA seized it when Islamist fighters fled French forces.
     
    The West African state's interim government has accused the MNLA of arresting and carrying out ethnic violence against black Songhai, Bella and Bambara people in Kidal, expelling some of them from the town.
     
    The United States on Wednesday condemned “racially motivated acts of detention and expulsions in Kidal” and called for a negotiated solution that would return Mali's civilian administration to the area.
     
    Amnesty International said on Thursday that serious human rights abuses were taking place in Mali, despite the presence of around 3,500 French troops there. Amnesty pointed the finger at the Malian army, the MNLA and the Islamist MUJWA.
     
    The MNLA has rejected Bamako's calls for it to lay down its weapons and said it will resist any attempt to retake Kidal. It has said it is open to negotiations if northern Mali's right to self-determination is recognized.
     
    Both parties are due to meet from Friday in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou for talks. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the talks were due to be concluded by June 10.
     
    Mali's chief negotiator told a news conference in Bamako he was confident of reaching a deal to allow July's elections to proceed across the country, including Kidal.
     
    “These conditions mean the return of the Malian state throughout the country including the administration, technical services and also the army and security services,” Tiebile Drame said. "I feel a consensus is emerging and I am optimistic about the signing of an agreement on June 10 in Ouagadougou.”

    You May Like

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

    City could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters

    Turkey Aims New Crackdown at Journalists, Academics, Airline Workers

    Ankara continues targeting people allegedly linked to exiled cleric, who it says led the failed military coup

    Pakistan Ready to Inaugurate Rebuilt Afghan Border Crossing

    Construction of Torkham Gate triggered deadly clashes between Pakistani and Afghan military forces

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    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 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.
    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 Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    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 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 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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora