Results tagged “Mali”
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The UN is considering the creation of a 10,000-strong heavily armed rapid deployment force in Mali as part of a peacekeeping mission after the French-led intervention is over. Authorization of such a deployment would take about two months. The French military has completed mopping-up operations in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains but is continuing to look for remaining Islamist hideouts.
The UN Human Rights Commission accused Malian soldiers of retaliatory attacks against ethnic groups perceived to be supportive of the Islamist takeover in Mali. The country's private news outlets launched a strike to protest the arrest of an editor who published a letter complaining to the president about soldiers' conditions in the north.
Reports have emerged that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb commander El Kairouani Abu Abdelhamid al-Kidali was killed by French and Chadian forces in Aguelhok on March 7. Kidal leads the mainly Toureg "Youssef ben Tachfine" brigade.
French Defense Minister LeDrian said in a visit to Mali that the mission is not over as it still needed to "restore Mali's territorial integrity." The Malian government created a 33-member "reconciliation and dialogue commission" to help restore peace and to investigate "cases of human rights violations committed in the country since the beginning of hostilities."
French and Chadian forces killed about 15 Islamist militants in the Ametetai valley area. A fourth French soldier has been killed in Mali, in fighting about 60 miles outside of Gao. The head of the EU training mission said the Malian army, which consists of about 6,000 soldiers, of whom 4,000 are support personnel, needs "considerable" training, equipment, and restructuring.
A prominent al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb jihadist said AQIM leader Abu Zeid had been killed in a French bombing raid in the Ifoghas mountains but that Mokhtar Belmokhtar was still alive and "in the Gao region, waging the fight." The UN reported that 40,000 Malians, mainly Tuaregs, have fled to refugee camps in Burkina Faso. The UK Foreign Secretary visited Bamako; the UK is donating 40 personnel to the EU training mission.
A jihadist posted a message claiming that Mokhtar Belmokhtar was alive and "leading the battles" and would post a message himself soon. A French soldier and 15 Islamist fighters were killed in heavy battles with Islamist forces holed up in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains. The Malian army said it killed 52 Islamist rebels east of Gao.