News / Africa

UN Mulls Mali Military Mission

A soldier wears a button bearing the image of coup leader Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo with the words 'President, CNRDRE,' the French acronym of the ruling junta, outside Bamako, Mali, April 1, 2012.
A soldier wears a button bearing the image of coup leader Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo with the words 'President, CNRDRE,' the French acronym of the ruling junta, outside Bamako, Mali, April 1, 2012.
Anne Look
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the U.N. Security Council should green light (endorse) a regional military offensive to help the Malian army retake the north from Islamic extremists but has stopped short of endorsing U.N. funding for the mission.

Ban gave conditional support to a one-year African Union mission to Mali. His recommendations came via a written report to the U.N. Security Council Wednesday.

Targeted military action, he said, may ultimately be necessary against Al-Qaida-linked fighters in control of northern Mali since April but it should remain a "last resort."

The Security Council is expected to consider the request from the African Union and regional bloc ECOWAS for an intervention mandate on December 5. A resolution granting the mandate could come before the end of the year.

The secretary general said African leaders need to further develop plans for the military operation, including "how the force would be led, sustained, trained, equipped and financed."  
 
The secretary general called for "urgent action" to prevent northern Mali from becoming a safe haven for terrorists and organized crime. Yet, he warned that a hasty and poorly executed offensive could result in "severe human rights abuses" and further humanitarian fall-out. More than 400,000 people have already fled the north this year.

Ban said opening "broad-based and inclusive" political dialogue remains the priority.

Of the four armed groups in the north, two are Malian-led, the Islamist sect Ansar Dine and Tuareg separatist movement, the MNLA. Both groups have agreed to enter into ECOWAS-mediated negotiations with the Malian government.

ECOWAS special representative to Mali, Aboudou Chaka Toure says the secretary general's recommendations are in line with what ECOWAS is already doing.

But, he says they are dealing with terrorism, which risks to spread like gangrene through Mali and threatens regional and international security. He says ECOWAS is first trying to reason with the Malian armed groups to get them to go back on their declarations of independence or efforts to impose sharia law by force. That is the principal solution, he said, but no one could justify negotiating with terrorists. They must be beaten.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS has committed to raise a force of 3,300 soldiers.

The mission would include training, equipping and reorganizing the Malian army which analysts say is still in shambles following a March 22 military coup and subsequent retreat from the north.

The Secretary General advised against U.N. funding for the mission, which is reportedly estimated at as much as $500 million for the first year.

Toure of ECOWAS said they are not proposing war for war's sake.

He says they are requesting international funding to stop what could soon become a threat to global peace. If they are not all on the same page, he says perhaps there is still time to discuss. But they must fight terrorism, and those who disagree, he said, will take responsibility for their choice.

Experts say any regional offensive to northern Mali is not likely until the second half of 2013.

There is concern both in Mali and in the international community that Islamist militants, including those linked to al-Qaida's North Africa branch, AQIM, will use the time to further solidify their positions and bring in reinforcements.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs