Results tagged “Mali”
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A joint French, UN, and Malian operation was launched to sweep Islamist militants out of three northern regions. A French military spokesman said it is the largest joint operation the three forces have undertaken so far in Mali, involving several hundred French soldiers.
Suspected Islamist militants conducted a suicide car bombing in Tessalit against a military checkpoint, killing two Chadian UN peacekeeping troops and injuring six other people. A local official said that four people had been killed by the blast, including a child. French forces wrested control of Tessalit, in northern Mali near the Algerian border, from Islamist militants in February.
The UN's Mali envoy asked the Security Council to provide more troops and equipment for the MINUSMA peacekeeping force, which faces "severe" challenges. Of the 12,600 troops mandated for the mission, only about 5,200 are on the ground. Mali's military chief for the northern region said sleeper cells exist in the area with jihadists from Sudan, Boko Haram, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO). France plans to reduce its troop level in Mali from 3,200 to about 1,000; the US is not providing assistance to the Malian army but has provided logistical help to French forces in Mali.
Suspected Islamists blew up a bridge on the only road connecting Gao to Niger, wounding two civilians. The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) claimed both the attack on the bridge and yesterday's shelling of Gao, and warned of further attacks.
Islamist shelling from Bourem wounded at least one Malian soldier and six other people in Gao, in the first such attack in the city in months. French and Malian troops headed out to look for the source of the attack. The Tuareg MNLA and two other groups that had pulled out of a peace deal returned to the accord on Oct. 5 after the government released nearly two dozen prisoners.
The government freed 23 rebels linked to the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad, which pulled out of a peace accord last week. A group called the Imaratou Sahra battalion of al Qaeda of Jihad in the Islamic Maghreb claimed credit for the Sept. 28 double suicide bombing in Timbuktu; the MNLA blamed AQIM and MUJAO for the attack. The Red Cross is delivering food aid to half a million people in Kidal, Gao, Timbuktu, and Mopti.
Security forces exchanged fire with separatist Tuareg rebels in Kidal. An explosion destroyed the roof and walls of a UN World Food Program storage facility in Kidal; no injuries have been reported. French and UN forces set up a security perimeter around the facility after the blast. Kidal is controlled mainly by Tuareg rebels.
Two suicide bombers detonated in a car outside a military camp in Timbuktu, killing two civilians as well as themselves, in the first suicide attack in the city since March. Yesterday two soldiers were injured by a grenade thrown at a Kidal bank. Earlier this week, Tuareg separatist groups withdrew from a peace accord with the government.
The National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad, a Tuareg separatist group, said it and two other groups are withdrawing from the peace agreement reached with the Malian government in June. Founding MNLA member Mossa Ag Acharatoumane accused the government of not living up to its end of the deal, which was to include prisoner releases. Tuareg fighters are said to be moving outside of their garrisons in Kidal, in violation of the agreement.
Malian troops clashed with Tuareg rebels outside the western town of Lere, near the border with Mauritania, in the first fighting since a ceasefire was signed in June. The military claimed that three soldiers were injured in the clash, and warned that the fighting could jeopardize the truce. Mali's new president must start talks with the separatist Tuaregs by mid-November, under the terms of the ceasefire agreement. Security forces have handed over Abdelmadjid, a close aide to wanted terrorist leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, to Algerian authorities after capturing him in Gao on Sept. 1.