Results tagged “Mali”
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The French air force has performed its first operational flight using an A400M tactical transport, delivering 22 tonnes of supplies for Operation Serval in northern Mali. On the same flight was French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who warned that although Mali was almost secure, continued vigilance was needed. He said France would continue to back up Malian and MINUSMA forces "for as long as it takes" and that "we are all preparing to move towards a regional approach" as "the threat of destabilization is everywhere." He plans to return on Jan. 20 to sign a military accord between France and Mali.
The UN said French and Chadian troops have destroyed almost six tonnes of explosives and weapons that they found recently in two caches located about 95 miles southwest of Tessalit. In September nearly a tonne of explosives was found near Anefis.
The government has filed treason charges against former President Amadou Toumani, who was ousted by a military coup in April 2013. He is accused of "naming incompetent officers and soldiers, whose patriotism was questionable, to high-level posts." The Defense Ministry recently announced the arrest of Aliou Mahamar Toure, the brutal former chief of Islamic Police in Gao; he was reportedly detained while driving a scooter near Bourem.
A suicide car bombing in Kidal killed two Senegalese members of the UN peacekeeping force and destroyed the only operating bank in the town. Several other people were seriously injured, and more casualties are feared from the collapse of the bank building. In the town of Teringuite, at least 80 militants from the al Qaeda-linked Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) led by commander Abou Dardar attacked a Tuareg camp and killed two people.
French military forces have killed 19 Islamist militants during an ongoing operation north of Timbuktu. The French operation, said to involve a large number of troops and about 100 military vehicles and helicopters, was launched last week against al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb fighters in the area between the communes of Bouje-Baya and Arouane. A local security source said "there are a lot of jihadi movements" in the area.
Authorities have discovered a mass grave in Diago, just north of Bamako, containing the bodies of 21 people. An investigation is proceeding to determine whether they are the remains of 21 soldiers who disappeared during a failed counter-coup in April 2012.
After a flareup of violence in Kidal, the separatist Tuareg Azawad group, consisting of the MNLA, MAA, and HCUA, ended its ceasefire with the government. The International Red Cross said conflict in the north is depriving most Malians in the area of access to health services. Cheibani Ould Hama, a Malian member of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb linked to the murder of an American official in Niger in 2000, was arrested along with three other persons in northern Mali by French forces.
Local security forces detained General Amadou Sanogo, the leader of the March 2012 military coup, for questioning. He is suspected of financial crimes and involvement in the deaths and disappearances of soldiers who resisted the coup last year.
A senior security official warned that Ansar Dine has reemerged as a threat and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb leader Abdelkrim al-Targui "is closing in too." Kidal residents complained of the continuing presence of extremist groups. The Malian military is trying to combat sleeper cells in areas such as Gao and Timbuktu. The reconciliation minister for the north said that "rebels, terrorists, and drug traffickers switch between Ansar Dine, MUJAO, and AQIM." The MINUMSA force in Mali is still at less than half its planned 12,600-man strength.
Turnout was low in parliamentary elections today. Demonstrators protested in Kidal against the elections, and gunmen stole ballot boxes and election materials in Goundam and Lere, near Timbuktu. Tuareg separatists smashed car windows in Gao, and destroyed ballot boxes in Tataye. Sixteen people were killed in clashes between ethnic Peul and separatist Tuareg near the Niger border.
French special forces in Tessalit killed Hacene Ould Khalill, a.k.a. Jouleibib, a Mauritanian national who served as deputy head of Mokhtar Belmokhtar's Those Who Sign in Blood Brigade, which merged with MUJAO in August. Suspected MUJAO militants fired rockets into Gao. At least three French soldiers in an armored vehicle were wounded in an explosion outside Kidal.