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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora