Accessibility links

Breaking News

Clashes Erupt in Northern Mali

Hadarin jirgin Aljeriya, Yuli 25, 2014.
Hadarin jirgin Aljeriya, Yuli 25, 2014.
Fresh clashes have erupted in two regions of northern Mali where French and African troops have been backing Malian efforts to push Islamist militants from their remaining strongholds.

A reporter for VOA says the MNLA ethnic Tuareg rebel group was battling an unidentified armed group on Saturday near the town of Tessalit.

On Friday, a car bomb exploded outside an MNLA base near Tessalit, killing five people, including the two suspected suicide bombers.

Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande says French and Chadian forces are battling militants in the mountainous Ifoghas region, near the Algerian border. He told reporters on Saturday that troops believe a large number of "terrorist groups" are seeking refuge in the remote region.

On Friday, the military command in Chad said 13 of its soldiers and 65 Islamist rebels had been killed in fierce battles in the Ifoghas region.

Chad has about 1,600 soldiers in Mali.

Forces from former colonial power France entered Mali in January to push back militants moving toward the capital, Bamako.

France has since said it plans to begin withdrawing its ground forces and hand over military operations to the Malian army and the emerging African force.

In another development, U.S. defense officials said the United States has deployed several Predator drones to the West African country of Niger to fly surveillance missions in support of French troops battling militants in neighboring Mali.

The officials quoted in U.S. news reports on Friday say the unarmed robotic aircraft are to be based near the Niger capital, Niamey, along with a contingent of about 100 U.S. military personnel.
  • 16x9 Image

    VOA News

    The Voice of America provides news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of over 326 million people. Stories with the VOA News byline are the work of multiple VOA journalists and may contain information from wire service reports.