News / Africa

Sporadic Fighting in Mali as UN Weighs Peacekeeping Force

French armored vehicles are seen heading towards the Niger border before making a left turn north in Gao, northern Mali,  Feb. 6, 2013
French armored vehicles are seen heading towards the Niger border before making a left turn north in Gao, northern Mali, Feb. 6, 2013
VOA News
French-backed Malian forces are facing pockets of resistance in northern Mali, after retaking control of the region last month.

VOA's French to Africa Service reports a contingent of troops from France, Mali and Niger on Thursday forced a small group of Islamist militants from Djebock, a town 45 kilometers northeast of Gao.  Residents said they were being "terrorized" by the militants.

In another development, four Malian soldiers were killed after their vehicle hit a landmine.  The blast occurred Wednesday on a road between Gao and Douentza.

As France begins to wind down its Mali intervention, the United Nations is considering plans to assume control of an international peacekeeping force in the country.  However, officials say any action will have to wait until the security situation there stabilizes.

France's U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said Wednesday that his country's troops will not be staying in Mali.  He described a potential peacekeeping force made up largely of the African troops already in the country.

"There is the prospect of a peacekeeping operation," said Araud. "It was the first time that I was raising the issue in the Security Council and I was insisting on the fact that the deployment will be possible only when the security circumstances permit.  So I think we have to wait several weeks before assessing the security environment and taking the decision of deploying a peacekeeping operation.”

French forces entered Mali last month to drive back al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants who controlled the north and were moving in the direction of the capital, Bamako.  

U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said Wednesday that troops from the African-led International Support Mission for Mali (AFISMA) are starting to move into what he called the "operational areas" in the north.

Separately, the top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, says any longterm solution for Mali must include recognition of the country's moderate elements.

He told reporters on Thursday that a military solution without a political solution would be an "imperfect solution."  

"We must also see negotiations with the moderate Tuaregs, those who renounce violence," said Carson. "The Tuareg, many of them have longstanding political grievances, legitimate and longstanding.  They must be dealt with but we also must keep focus on the elimination of AQIM as a threat not only to Mali but also the region." 

The Mali crisis began in early 2012 when Tuareg separatist group MNLA launched a rebellion in the north.  The MNLA and Islamist militants seized control of the north in April but the MNLA was soon swept aside as the militants imposed harsh Islamic law on the region.

Mali's interim president, Dioncounda Traore, has said his government is willing to negotiate with the MNLA but not the militants.

Diplomats have said privately that a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing a peacekeeping operation for Mali is not likely before the end of February.  It could take another two months after that to transition the African forces into U.N. peacekeepers.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid