News

    Mali Rebels Gain Ground in North

    Malian soldiers  mill around inside the milirary camp of Malian junta leader Amadou Sanogo  in Kati near Bamako on March 30, 2012.
    Malian soldiers mill around inside the milirary camp of Malian junta leader Amadou Sanogo in Kati near Bamako on March 30, 2012.
    Nancy Palus

    Separatist Tuareg rebels in Mali attacked the northern garrison town of Gao on Saturday, one day after taking the town of Kidal. The advances come as the military government scrambles to avoid sanctions by the regional bloc ECOWAS.

    Residents of Gao told VOA that heavy weapons fire started in Gao early Saturday as Tuareg rebels and the Malian army clashed. The attack comes one day after rebels took another major northern city, Kidal.

    The soldiers who took power in a March 22 coup said they wanted to put up a more robust military response to the two-month-old rebellion in the north, and preserve Mali’s territorial integrity. But since the coup, rebels - who want independence for the north - have only gained ground.

    People who talked with VOA from Gao did not want to be identified, out of concern for their security.

    "Things are really heating up," says a man who was among people seeking shelter at a marketplace as heavy gunfire erupted around the town. "There is shooting everywhere. We have faith in God, but really right now we’ve got no idea what to do."

    He said between the disarray in the Malian army and attacks by rebels, people feel trapped.

    "We are in the crossfire here," he went on to say. "We’ve got no idea what our future holds with the Malian army, we’ve got no idea what our future holds with the rebels."

    Another resident of Gao said rebels were said to be on the outskirts of Gao on Friday evening but waited until the morning to attack.

    He says, now that the rebels are here in the middle of town, the army can’t do a thing. The army might have done something before the rebels got to the town, but now it’s done. The man says the people have no army to defend them.

    Tuareg rebels have battled for autonomy for decades. But northern Mali is home to several ethnic groups. This man noted that one of those groups, the Songhai, will never accept independence.

    "You won’t find a single Songhai who will accept this, he says. Independence for what? Mali is one country, indivisible," he said.

    For now, the man said, people in Gao are worried about how they are going to eat, especially with looming economic sanctions. ECOWAS on Thursday gave the junta 72 hours to hand power back to civilians or borders would be closed and Mali's account at the regional central bank would be frozen.

    This ultimatum by ECOWAS, how are people going to eat? this man asks.  How will people find money? People are going to starve to death, he says.

    After the rebels took Kidal on Friday, junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo appealed to ECOWAS for assistance.

    A delegation of the military junta traveled to Burkina Faso on Friday. ECOWAS has named Burkina President Blaise Compaoré mediator for Mali.

    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.
    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.