Category Archives: Mali

Malian troops in first clash with MNLA rebels since truce

Malian troops in a fight in the city of Gao early this year.

Malian government forces have clashed with separatist Tuareg rebels in the first fighting since the two sides signed a peace accord in June. The fighting took place near the western town of Lere, close to the Mauritanian border, leaving three soldiers injured. Both sides have accused the other of provoking the attack. A Malian army spokesman has warned that such fighting could jeopardise the truce. A spokesman for the MNLA rebels told the BBC that government soldiers shelled positions that rebels had agreed to occupy under the ceasefire deal. However, the army says a group of rebels refused to co-operate with an army patrol and opened fire first. “An army … Continue reading

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Mali coup leader Capt Sanogo promoted to full 4-star general

From Captain to four-star general in less than a year - That

Amadou Haya Sanogo’s rise through the ranks in Mali’s military hadn’t exactly been meteoric. He’d failed officer exams, and was living in army barracks with cement walls and a tin roof when he launched a coup. Now he’s parlayed that power grab into a promotion that makes him the country’s highest-ranking military official. Sixteen months after handing power back to a civilian transitional government, the former captain has become a four-star general in an army that must work alongside French and other European forces. Flabbergasted critics say he should be put on trial for abuses including torture and disappearances that were committed during his brief rule after the March 2012 … Continue reading

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Boubaca Keita wins Malian presidency

New Malian President Boubaca Keita

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has congratulated Ibrahim Boubacar Keita for his victory in Mali’s presidential run-off election on Sunday. “We congratulate him for a hard-won victory. We also congratulate Malians for their confidence in the validity of the ballot box,” said Sonny Ugoh, ECOWAS communication director. “The challenge that he [Keita] confronts is now to rebuild national cohesion, and see how he can pull the people of Mali together to address the challenges that confront the country — security, national economic reconstruction and the building of the confidence of the people once again.” Both ECOWAS and the African Union’s (AU), as well as other international and … Continue reading

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Massive problems threaten Mali’s first election since coup

Gen Siaka Sangare, who heads the election headquarters, says he remains cautiously optimistic because the problems with the voter list are due to human error, not fraud.

Oumou Sangare is used to getting what she wants. Unlike most of the people lined up outside the election office here, the wife of Mali’s former ambassador to the United Nations is not accustomed to hearing the word ‘no.’ Yet that’s exactly what the elegant, middle-aged woman heard earlier this week after making her way to the front of the line of would-be voters who, due to a technical glitch, don’t appear on the voter list for the upcoming presidential election. Clutching her designer handbag, she stood on tiptoes in her petite heels, straining to peer through the open window of the election headquarters, where a clerk typed her name … Continue reading

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Islamist rebels taking advantage of French troops departure

Mali’s Foreign Minister said Tuesday that nations in the Sahara were not doing enough to stop an Islamist threat spreading across the region and urged more intelligence-sharing and joint military operations. In an interview with Reuters, Tieman Coulibaly accused Mali’s Tuareg separatist rebels of “Ku Klux Klan” abuses by persecuting non-Tuaregs in Kidal and said this did not bode well for talks aimed at including the north-eastern town in next month’s election of a new president to complete a post-coup transition to democracy. A string of attacks in Niger including on a French-run uranium mine have shown how Islamist rebels have taken advantage of a security vacuum since French-led forces … Continue reading

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France embarks on major troop withdraw from Mali

France has begun a key stage of its military withdrawal from Mali, four months after sending troops to push Islamist rebels out from the north. A convoy of dozens of army trucks left a base outside the capital, Bamako, on its way south to Ivory Coast. Last month, France began withdrawing some of its 4,000 troops from the country. They plan to gradually hand over to the Malian army and a UN peacekeeping force, which will deploy in July ahead of planned nationwide elections. Saturday’s withdrawal comes just two days after Islamist rebels targeted an army barracks and French-run uranium mine in neighbouring Niger, killing 21 people. French Special Forces … Continue reading

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Malian army “poor, corrupt and barely functional” – French Col

Nearly three months since the European Union (EU) approved a 15-month training mission to rebuild a badly paid and poorly equipped Malian army, it remains poor, corrupt and barely functional, a French colonel said on Monday. The aim of the EU mission was to make the Malian army strong enough to fend off potential attacks by Islamist militants. But since this training commenced, corruption remains the rule in Malian ranks, soldiers are unable to train and some eight million euros ($10 million) pledged by international donors at a conference in Addis Ababa have not reached the army. “They’re managing misery.” Bruno Heluin, who runs training for Malian troops in the … Continue reading

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French hostage reportedly beheaded in Mali

A French hostage has been executed in Mali, a man claiming to be a spokesman for al-Qaeda in North Africa told Mauritania’s ANI news agency. A French foreign office spokesman said late on Tuesday that they were trying to verify the report of the killing of Philippe Verdon, who was kidnapped in November 2011, adding that “we don’t know at the moment” whether it is reliable. In what ANI reported was a telephone call to the agency, which has close links to rebels, the commander said Philippe Verdon had been beheaded on March 10 “in response to the French military intervention in the north of Mali”, ANI reported. Verdon was … Continue reading

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African leaders call for U.N. mandate for Mali mission

West African leaders on Thursday called for a regional military operation against al Qaeda-linked rebels in north Mali to be transformed into a U.N. peacekeeping mission as quickly as possible to secure desperately needed funding. France sent troops into its former colony last month to drive out Islamist fighters, claiming their seizure of Mali’s north last year posed a threat to international security. Paris hopes that from March it can start withdrawing its 4,000 troops but is awaiting the effective deployment of an African force (AFISMA), plagued by logistical and financing setbacks. Meeting in Ivory Coast’s capital Yamoussoukro, presidents from West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS backed calls from France, the … Continue reading

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10 Chadian soldiers killed fighting Islamists in Mali

Ten Chadian soldiers were killed in combat in northern Mali’s mountainous border with Algeria where Islamist rebels regrouped after losing urban areas to a French-led offensive, Chad’s army said on Sunday. The latest Chadian fatalities came in an area of the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains where 13 Chadian soldiers were killed in clashes on Friday that centred around what one senior commander said was a rebel base of “significant importance”. At least 93 rebels have been killed in fighting in the area so far, Chad’s army said. The casualties, the heaviest by African troops since a campaign against al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels began six weeks ago, highlight risks that the … Continue reading

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