News / Africa

Islamists Seize New Mali Town

A public transport minibus is stopped by Malian soldiers at a checkpoint at the entrance to Markala, approximately 40 km outside Segou on the road to Diabaly, in central Mali, Jan. 14, 2013.
A public transport minibus is stopped by Malian soldiers at a checkpoint at the entrance to Markala, approximately 40 km outside Segou on the road to Diabaly, in central Mali, Jan. 14, 2013.
VOA News
Islamist militants who control northern Mali are advancing southward, seizing a town closer to the capital, despite continuing French airstrikes.
 
France's Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the rebels took the town of Diabaly, about 400 kilometers north of Bamako, after fierce fighting with the Malian army. 
 
But he said the French military operation in Mali is working as President Francois Hollande had planned.
 
"The situation is working out in the way that he [Hollande] anticipated and it is evolving favorably.  To the east of Mail, the initiative of the terrorist groups has been blocked.  The city of Konna has been abandoned and the terrorist groups have pulled back to Douentza," he said. 

Well-armed militants

VOA correspondent Anne Look, who is in Bamako, reports the Malian army is sending troops in an effort to beat back the militants, who are described as very well-armed.

Click to EnlargeClick to Enlarge
x
Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge
"The Malian military source in Koulikoro camp, which is about 60 kilometers outside of Bamako, has told me they’re sending reinforcements," she said.  "Keep in mind it might take a little while for them to get there.  So as of right now, we’re hearing that fighting in Diabaly has stopped, and that the Islamists control the town, but it doesn’t appear that the battle is compely over."

Diabaly is west of areas where French warplanes bombed Islamist training camps, bases and weapon depots on Sunday.  Le Drian characterized those attacks as successful.
 
"Concerning Gao, as you are aware, there were a certain number of attacks that targeted the rear base of the MUJAO that yielded extremely tangible results and succeeded in dispersing these terrorist groups to the east and the south," he said. 
 
France deployed forces in the West African country on Friday, as the northern rebel groups made a move to seize government-controlled territory.

UN security council

Recent French Interventions in Africa

  • Mali 2013:
    French forces launch air strikes on Islamists rebels.
  • Somalia 2013:
    French commandos are killed during failed hostage rescue mission.
  • Ivory Coast 2011:
    French forces move in after Laurent Gbagbo refuses to step down following contested elections.
  • Libya 2011:
    French planes are first to bomb Moammar Gadhafi's forces after U.N. votes to allow intervention to protect civilians.
France's United Nations ambassador Gerard Araud said France decided to help Mali militarily because it was worried the rebels could possibly take the capital. 
 
"Our assessment was that they were totally able to take Bamako.  And so we decided that what was at stake was the existence of the state of Mali, and beyond Mali was the stability of all of West Africa.  With determination, but also with reluctance, we decided that we had no other choice but to launch this military intervention, and we'll conduct it as long as necessary," he said. 
 
The United States said Monday that it was preparing to offer logistical support to France.  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the United States is already providing intelligence gathered by unmanned aerial vehicles operating in the region.  He said Washington is also considering providing limited logistical support and some airlift capability.
 
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Monday welcomed the French-led military intervention, saying he hopes the action will help to stop the rebels' offensive. 
 
Also Monday, the militant group Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa joined Islamic Ansar Dine militants in threatening France with reprisals for its role in Mali.  President Francois Hollande has increased security across France.

Al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists seized control of northern Mali soon after renegade soldiers toppled the government in March, leaving a temporary power vacuum.  The militants have imposed harsh conservative Islamic law across the north.

Mali is a former French colony and France still has a variety of economic and political interests there.

The neighboring countries of Niger, Burkina Faso and Senegal are promising to send troops to Mali.

The U.N. Security Council approved a plan last month for West African states to deploy at least 3,000 troops to Mali to help train the army and retake the north.  None of those troops had been expected in Mali until September.

State of emergency

Mali's interim President Dioncounda Traore, left, with ECOWAS chairman, Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, Abidjan, May 2012.Mali's interim President Dioncounda Traore, left, with ECOWAS chairman, Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, Abidjan, May 2012.
x
Mali's interim President Dioncounda Traore, left, with ECOWAS chairman, Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, Abidjan, May 2012.
Mali's interim President Dioncounda Traore, left, with ECOWAS chairman, Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, Abidjan, May 2012.
Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore has declared a state of emergency and has called on every Malian to help in the war effort.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said French forces in Mali are preparing for any rebel move aimed at Bamako, and that they will remain in the area as long as necessary.  Ayrault said the militants are to blame for much lawlessness, including kidnappings.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dr. Jeff Dorsey from: Miami, FL, USA
January 14, 2013 12:39 PM
The United States spent 5 years and a significant part of the $461 million Millenium Challenge Corporation-Government of Mali Compact on setting up an irrigation project in Alatona near Diabaly. This areas has been overrun by the Salafist rebels. It is time for the US to stop dragging its feet, to get behind the Malian Army and to employ the immense military might (especially air power) to preserve Malian territorial integrity. Once this is done successfully, it will be time to rebuild the Malian economy which has been shattered by the combined assault on the north and the withdrawal of economic and military assistance in the south. The time for dilly-dallying is over.

by: rex from: Amer
January 14, 2013 9:40 AM
UN = Talk talk talk and try to get more money - more money more money.

by: Bean Cube from: Seattle WA
January 14, 2013 5:28 AM
This is still the long and expensive religious war in United Nations.

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