Results tagged “Mali”
Would you like to limit the tag results display to a specific section?
If you do, then pick any of the sections below:
Or simply go to the aggregated tag results from:
French President Hollande said French troops would begin pulling out of Mali in late April and then draw down from about 2,000 in July to 1,000 at the end of the year. French troops are expected to be part of a proposed UN peacekeeping force later this year. A presidential election is scheduled for July 7, with legislative elections two weeks later.
The Islamist group Ansaruddin released a statement urging fellow jihadist groups to keep up the fight in Mali, and claiming that its leader, Iyad Ag Ghaly, is currently leading military operations. France plans to start gradually reducing its troops in Mali from the current 4,000 to possibly 3,000 by July, with a transition to a UN force by September. The UN Secretary General proposed the creation of a 11,200-strong protective force of African troops under a UN mandate, supplemented by a parallel force for counterterrorism operations.
French forces in the Tegharghar mountains near the Algerian border are finding caches of food and weapons, including explosive belts and IED materials, along with vegetable gardens, passports, medical supplies, and freshly cut hair left behind by Islamist militants. A French commander said: "We broke al-Qaeda's neck," but the French military wants to cordon off the mountain range to prevent militants from escaping.
In the third major offensive since fleeing in January, Islamist militants attacked French and Malian forces in Gao. An official said there were "a lot of them and they are very determined," and that many of the militants had been killed but others had melted back into the population. The mayor of Gao said the militants had not seized control of the town. Clashes during a "clean-up operation" between security forces and the AQIM and MUJAO militants resulted in the deaths of a Malian soldier, two civilians, and four militants.
French and Malian forces repelled a complex assault at a Timbuktu airport, killing 10 of 30 militants; the assault also involved a suicide bombing at a checkpoint that killed a Malian soldier as well as the bomber. French president Hollande said the sovereignty of "almost the entire territory" of Mali would be restored in "a few days." The French prime minister recently said French troops would start pulling out of Mali "as of the end of April."
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb announced that it executed French hostage Philippe Verdon on March 10 in Mali to retaliate for the French intervention in the country. AQIM said French president Hollande is responsible for the fate of the other six French hostages it holds. The group's spokesman also refused to confirm or deny reports of the deaths of Abu Zeid and Mokhtar Belmokhtar. The French military said 15 Islamist fighters had been killed recently in Gao and a large weapons cache had been seized.
Although jihadist fighters were largely driven out of Gao six weeks ago, civil administrators have not returned to resume governance in the city. Small groups of jihadist fighters are thought to remain in hideouts nearby. An Algerian-born French Salafist captured in Mali this month who went to Mali last year will be extradited to France.
The US ambassador to Mali said great progress has been made in the country since the beginning of the military intervention in January. She urged that elections be scheduled and an imprisoned Malian journalist be freed. Abu Dardar, a leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, allegedly fled the region two months ago, leaving a wife behind in Gao.