West & Central Africa Correspondent, Dakar
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Jan 22, 2013

Chad troops move toward Niger’s Mali border to face Islamists

NIAMEY/BAMAKO (Reuters) – An armored column of Chadian troops in Niger moved towards the Malian border on Tuesday, part of an African military force that is gradually deploying to support French operations against Islamist rebels in northern Mali.

A Reuters reporter witnessed the Chadian forces, who are experienced in desert operations, advancing north from the capital Niamey on the road to Ouallam, some 100 km (60 miles) from the border, where a company of Niger’s troops are already stationed.

Jan 22, 2013

French troops take central Mali towns, rebels slip away

DIABALY, Mali (Reuters) – French and Malian armored columns rolled into the towns of Diabaly and Douentza in central Mali on Monday after the al Qaeda-linked rebels who had seized them fled into the bush to avoid air strikes.

France said the advance was a significant step in its campaign to break Islamist fighters’ grip over Mali’s vast desert north, a presence raising fears of the region becoming a an African launchpad for international militant attacks.

Jan 21, 2013

French troops take town in central Mali as rebels slip away

DIABALY, Mali (Reuters) – French and Malian armoured columns rolled into the central Mali town of Diabaly on Monday after the al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels who seized it a week ago melted into the bush to avoid air strikes.

Diabaly, 350 km (220 miles) north of Mali’s dusty riverside capital Bamako, had harboured the main cluster of insurgents south of the frontline towns of Mopti and Sevare.

Jan 21, 2013

French troops advance in Mali as Islamists melt away

NIONO, Mali (Reuters) – French troops advanced cautiously toward northern Mali on Sunday amid fears of ambush by al Qaeda-linked fighters, while its fighter jets pounded the Islamists’ strongholds in the desert near Timbuktu.

In the central Malian town of Diabaly, seized by Islamist fighters on Monday, the wreckage of the Islamists’ charred pick-up trucks lay abandoned among the mud-brick buildings, television images showed.

Jan 20, 2013

French troops inch north in Mali as Islamists melt away

NIONO, Mali (Reuters) – French troops in armored vehicles advanced on Sunday towards a central Malian town abandoned by Islamist rebels after days of air strikes, moving cautiously for fear of guerrilla-style counterattacks by the al Qaeda-linked fighters.

Television showed the wreckage of the Islamists’ white pick-up trucks, some mounted with heavy machine guns, lying charred and twisted among the mud-brick buildings of the village of Diabaly.

Jan 20, 2013

France, Africa seeks support for regional Mali force

ABIDJAN/NIONO, Mali (Reuters) – France and West African leaders called on Saturday on other world powers to commit money and logistical support for African armies readying their troops to join French soldiers already battling al Qaeda-linked militants in Mali.

The appeal came as African leaders met in Ivory Coast to hammer out details of a regional mission that is due to take over from French forces but is dispatching soldiers while still short of financing, planning and even ammunition.

Jan 19, 2013

French troops bring relief, business to central Mali town

SARAKALA, Mali (Reuters) – Early this week, Koura Coulibaly was ready to pack her bags and abandon Sarakala, a small village in central Mali.

Three days into an offensive by French war planes and attack helicopters, Islamist rebels launched a dramatic counter-attack, seizing the town of Diabaly town from Mali’s army, about 100 km (60 miles) away.

Jan 19, 2013

France seeks support for Africa’s Mali force

ABIDJAN/NIONO, Mali (Reuters) – France called on Saturday on other world powers to commit money and logistical support for African armies readying their troops to join French soldiers already battling al Qaeda-linked militants in Mali.

The appeal came as African leaders met in Ivory Coast where they are expected to agree details of a regional mission that is due to take over from French forces but is short on financing, planning and even ammunition.

Jan 18, 2013

Mali army retakes town, Islamists flee French air raids

BAMAKO/MARKALA, Mali, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Islamist rebels in
Mali abandoned the central town of Diabaly on Friday after
fleeing a French air strike, military sources said, while West
African troops arrived in Bamako to take on the insurgents in
Mali’s north.

France, warning that Islamist control over Mali’s vast
deserts and rugged mountains threatened the security of Africa
and the West, had targeted Diabaly in an eighth day of air
strikes to dislodge hardened al Qaeda-linked fighters there.

Jan 18, 2013

French, Malian forces retake front-line town from Islamists

BAMAKO/MARKALA, Mali, Jan 18 (Reuters) – French and Malian
soldiers wrested control of the central town of Diabaly from
Islamist rebels on Friday, its mayor said, and West African
reinforcements arrived in Bamako to take on the insurgents
dominating the north of Mali.

France, warning that Islamist control over Mali’s vast
desert north threatens the security of Africa and the West, had
targeted Diabaly in an eighth day of air strikes aimed at
dislodging hardened al Qaeda-linked fighters there.

    • About Bate

      "Bate Felix is a Dakar-based West & Central Africa Correspondent. He joined Reuters in 2007 as a graduate trainee and has worked in Johannesburg, London, Brussels, Paris and Amsterdam. He now covers economics, politics and general news stories in over a dozen countries in West & Central Africa."
      Joined Reuters:
      2007
      Languages:
      English, French
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