News / Africa

France Won't Delay Mali Troop Reductions Despite Killings

FILE - General Grégoire de Saint-Quentin, force commander of Operation Serval, reviews troops in Bamako, Mali, July 14, 2013. (I.Broadhead/VOA)FILE - General Grégoire de Saint-Quentin, force commander of Operation Serval, reviews troops in Bamako, Mali, July 14, 2013. (I.Broadhead/VOA)
x
FILE - General Grégoire de Saint-Quentin, force commander of Operation Serval, reviews troops in Bamako, Mali, July 14, 2013. (I.Broadhead/VOA)
FILE - General Grégoire de Saint-Quentin, force commander of Operation Serval, reviews troops in Bamako, Mali, July 14, 2013. (I.Broadhead/VOA)
Reuters
France will stick to the timetable for its troop withdrawal from Mali despite a resurgence in violence and the killing of two French journalists at the weekend, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday.

France, which sent soldiers to its former colony in January to combat militants who had taken over large swaths of the country, has already delayed by two months plans to reduce troop numbers to 1,000, from 3,200, which was originally scheduled for the end of the year.

Fabius, speaking on RFI radio, confirmed the French army had redeployed 150 soldiers from the south to Kidal, the Tuareg rebel stronghold in the north, where instability has grown in recent months and where the journalists were abducted.

“President [Hollande] immediately decided to strengthen our presence in Kidal, but that does not put into question the calendar and the reduction of French forces,” Fabius said.

The strength of Malian forces and U.N. peacekeeping troops would also be increased, he said.

France launched air strikes and sent thousands of soldiers into Mali in January to drive back al-Qaida-linked rebels it said could turn Mali into a base for militant attacks.

Islamists scattered during the French assault and a presidential election was held in August that brought Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to power.

Legislative elections are due on Nov. 24, but the journalists' deaths follow a string of attacks in the desert zone of northern Mali.

Last month Malian and international forces launched a big  operation to keep pressure on Islamist groups.

Although Malian, U.N. and French troops are stationed in Kidal, none are heavily deployed. The Malian army's contingent is generally symbolic and soldiers are confined to their base.

About 200 U.N. peacekeepers (MINUSMA) are officially in control of security and France also has about 200 troops, though their operations in the region have focused on the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains to the north, which served for years as a hide-out for militants.

Pictures of French RFI journalists, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon on a poster headed Pictures of French RFI journalists, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon on a poster headed "RFI and all France Media World in Mourning" displayed in a window in Paris, Nov. 3, 2013.
x
Pictures of French RFI journalists, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon on a poster headed
Pictures of French RFI journalists, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon on a poster headed "RFI and all France Media World in Mourning" displayed in a window in Paris, Nov. 3, 2013.
French and Malian forces are hunting the killers of the journalists and questioning suspects. Fabius suggested Paris believed Islamist militants were behind the attack.

“We are following all leads,” Fabius told parliament Tuesday. “What the government wants is that those who committed this crime are tracked down, caught and punished.”

A team of seven French investigators arrived in Mali on Tuesday and had started taking fingerprints from the car left abandoned where the journalists were killed, a French police source said.

“What I can tell you is that the investigation is moving forward, but I can't tell you who has been arrested or how many people,” Kidal governor Adama Kamissoko told Reuters.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More