Results tagged “Mali”
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Some 6,300 West African troops were "re-hatted" as the new United Nations peacekeeping force in Mali, called MINUSMA; the force will grow to its full strength of 12,640 by December. France has slowed its withdrawal and will have between 3,000 and 3,500 troops in the country at the time of the nationwide election in late July. The government began distributing biometric voter cards for the July 28 election; 15 candidates are running for president.
The UN Security Council unanimously approved the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in Mali, called MINUSMA, for July 1. The force will take over from and incorporate much of the existing UN-backed African force currently in Mali. The new UN force is expected to reach full capacity by Dec. 31, but presently faces critical shortages of special forces, intelligence, information operations, and helicopters. The peacekeeping activities of the new force will be backed by French counterterrorism operations.
A government mission arrived in Kidal to lay groundwork for the return of Malian security forces. The mission arrived a week after an agreement was signed with the separatist Tuareg MNLA to allow the return of government forces to the area.
An interim agreement has been reached between the Malian government and the separatist Tuareg MNLA to allow the Malian military to assert control over the northern region, including Kidal, before elections on July 28, to be followed by the Malian civilian administration. The accord, which was signed today, imposes an immediate ceasefire and also calls for all armed groups in the north to lay down their weapons.
A senior mediator at talks in Burkina Faso between the Malian government and the separatist Tuareg MNLA said both sides have agreed "in principle" to allow presidential elections to take place in July and the army to return to Kidal. A 26-page manual found in Timbuktu earlier this year confirms that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb was training fighters to use man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADS, and suggests that the group now possesses the SA-7 surface-to-air missile.
Talks got underway yesterday in Burkina Faso between representatives of the Malian government and the separatist Tuareg MNLA, which is resisting government efforts to retake the northern city of Kidal. Rights groups have reported recent abuses by both the Malian army and the MNLA.
Malian troops took the town of Anefis from Tuareg MNLA forces yesterday after intense fighting, and are advancing toward the MNLA stronghold of Kidal. The MNLA has refused to surrender weapons or relinquish claims to parts of northern Mali. France's Foreign Ministry said it supported the Malian government's attempt to establish control of the entire country.
A suicide bomber killed only himself in an attack in Kidal near the home of an MNLA officer and also close to the former home of Ansar Dine leader Iyad Ag Ghaly. The government has vowed to retake Kidal from the Tuareg MNLA before a presidential election in late July.
Officials said the first round of presidential elections will be held on July 28. Interim President Traoré, who took office following a March 2012 coup, said neither he nor his ministers would be running in the elections. The country's electoral commission has mentioned concerns about the tight timeframe, as the country struggles with massive humanitarian concerns.