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

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Tour Will Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

US secretary of state to visit 5 countries in the Middle East, South Asia in bid to strengthen economic and security ties, ease concerns over deal with Tehran 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs