News / Africa

UN: Terrorist Threat in Mali Continues

U.N. Special Representative to Mali, Albert Koenders (L), at a ceremony that marks the beginning of the 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in Bamako, July 1, 2013
U.N. Special Representative to Mali, Albert Koenders (L), at a ceremony that marks the beginning of the 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in Bamako, July 1, 2013
Margaret Besheer
The United Nations’ top envoy in Mali warned Thursday that the security situation remains tenuous because of the continued threat of terrorist attacks.

U.N. Mali envoy Albert Koenders said terrorist attacks in the north increased in the last part of 2013, killing civilians, four U.N. peacekeepers and two French journalists. 

“The terrorist threat has always been at the core of concerns.  An upswing in terrorist activities confirms those concerns which we have consistently shared with you,” he said.

Those activities include a number of bomb attacks that the U.N. says indicates that armed groups have reorganized themselves and regained some ability to operate.
Koenders told the U.N. Security Council that effective stabilization of Mali's northern region required political and security cooperation between the U.N. mission - MINUSMA - and local and international partners.

Last year, armed groups in the north led a rebellion and seized control.  French forces intervened at the request of the government and in July, an African military mission was converted to a U.N. peacekeeping force, which is deployed primarily in the restive north.

Koenders said only about half the U.N. mission’s 11,200 troops were in place and less than a quarter of its police element, and he urged countries to accelerate deployment of personnel and equipment.

France’s U.N. ambassador, Gérard Araud, told reporters his country was winding down its involvement and would have decreased its troop presence to about 1,000 by later this year; but, he said that did not indicate any lack of commitment to Mali.

“We came to Mali one year ago in very difficult circumstances.  We have in a sense taken human and political risks," he said. "We have invested a lot.  We are not going to run away from Mali.  It’s very clear.  We are not running away from Mali.”

On the humanitarian front, the U.N.’s Koenders said there have been improvements in getting children back to school in the north, rehabilitating health centers there and providing access to clean drinking water.  He cautioned that challenges remain.

“Almost half a million people remain displaced within Mali and in neighboring countries.  At least 800,000 people are in need of immediate food assistance.  Another 2.4 million people remain moderately food insecure and their situation risks worsening during the upcoming lean season,” said Koenders.

He said the priority now must be to begin inclusive peace talks to cement gains made by last year’s elections and to address the root causes that led to the rebellion.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs