News / Africa

    West African Allies Call for International Forces in Mali

    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan reads his opening address during an ECOWAS Summit gathering west African leaders to plot a military strategy to wrest control of northern Mali from Islamist groups as fears grow over the risks they pose to the region a
    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan reads his opening address during an ECOWAS Summit gathering west African leaders to plot a military strategy to wrest control of northern Mali from Islamist groups as fears grow over the risks they pose to the region a
    Heather Murdock
    West African leaders agreed Sunday to formally request international military forces be deployed to Mali, where large areas of the country have been controlled by rebel groups since April.  

    The West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, says the group wants more than 3,000 soldiers to get ready for imminent deployment in Mali. 

    After three days of talks, West African leaders signed a formal agreement calling on the United Nations and the African Union to support an African-led international military intervention in Mali to take down rebel groups that control the north. 

    ECOWAS president Kadre Desire Ouedraogo read the agreement, saying “force may be indispensable” to take down “terrorist and transnational criminal networks” in Mali. 

    He said operational plans for a military invasion are firmly in place, but gives few specifics. He says most of the troops will come from West Africa, and several countries have already committed material support. 

    The document also calls for negotiations, but warns that rebel groups have to be committed to Mali as one nation under a secular, central government. 

    Ansar Dine is one of the three main al-Qaida-linked militant groups that have controlled northern Mali since April.  Last week, the group said it was interested in a "frank and constructive dialogue" with Malian authorities. 

    In a speech earlier Sunday, the head of the United Nations office for West Africa, Said Djinnit, urged Malian authorities to speed up plans for negotiations with militant groups.

    “All avenues for dialogue and negotiations with Malian rebel groups should be explored as a matter of priority to avoid as much as possible confrontation and its implications," he said. 

    Ansar Dine is known for its harsh interpretation of Islamic law that calls for the execution of adulterers and the mutilation of thieves.  Last week the group also said it would allow humanitarian workers to operate in areas it controls. 

    But with several militant groups competing for power, it is not clear if negotiations with one group will produce a positive result. 

    Djinnit said that credible preparations for invasion could help bring rebel groups to the table. “It is also important send a strong signal to the concerned groups in northern Mali, that the window of opportunity to join negotiations shall not be open-ended," he said. 

    In March, a military coup toppled the Malian government. During the chaos, separatists and al-Qaida-linked fundamentalists took over the northern part of the country. Once known for tourism and democracy, Mali is now known as one of the most dangerous places on earth. 

    As the summit meeting in Nigeria wound down, a Malian reporter asked on behalf of the people in northern Mali if the leaders thought troops would come fast to protect them.

    The answer?  Negotiations continue but “nothing is definite.”

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.