West & Central Africa Correspondent, Dakar
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Jan 15, 2013

France keeps up Mali air strikes, African troop plan advances

BAMAKO, Jan 15 (Reuters) – France kept up its air strikes
against Islamist rebels in Mali as plans to deploy African
troops gathered pace on Tuesday amid concerns that delays could
endanger a wider mission to dislodge al Qaeda and its allies.

France has already poured hundreds of troops into Mali and
carried out days of air strikes since Friday in a vast desert
area seized last year by an Islamist alliance that combines al
Qaeda’s north African wing AQIM with Mali’s home-grown MUJWA and
Ansar Dine rebel groups.

Jan 14, 2013

West African army chiefs to approve Mali troops plan

BAMAKO, Jan 15 (Reuters) – West African defence chiefs will
on Tuesday approve plans to speed up the deployment of African
troops against Islamist rebels in northern Mali, with some
regional soldiers seen arriving next week.

France has already poured hundreds of troops into Mali and
carried out days of air strikes in a vast desert area seized
last year by an Islamist alliance that combines al Qaeda’s north
African wing AQIM with Mali’s home-grown MUJWA and Ansar Dine
rebel groups.

Jan 14, 2013

Mali Islamists counter attack, promise France long war

BAMAKO/PARIS (Reuters) – Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels launched a counter-offensive on Monday in central Mali after four days of air strikes by French warplanes on their strongholds in the desert north, promising to drag France into a long and brutal Afghanistan-style ground war.

France intensified its air raids on Sunday using Rafale aircraft and Gazelle attack helicopters to pummel training camps at the heart of the vast area seized by rebels in April, while pouring hundreds of troops into the capital Bamako.

Jan 14, 2013

Mali Islamists counter-attack, threaten France

BAMAKO/PARIS (Reuters) – Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war.

France intensified its air raids on Sunday using state-of-the-art Rafale planes and Gazelle attack helicopters to pummel training camps at the heart of the vast area seized by rebels in April, while pouring hundreds of its ground troops into the capital Bamako.

Jan 14, 2013

France bombs Islamist strongholds deep in north Mali

BAMAKO/PARIS, Jan 13 (Reuters) – French fighter jets pounded
Islamist rebel strongholds deep in northern Mali on Sunday as
Paris poured more troops into the capital Bamako, awaiting a
West African force to dislodge al Qaeda-linked insurgents from
the country’s north.

The attacks on Islamist positions near the ancient desert
trading town of Timbuktu and Gao, the largest city in the north,
marked a decisive intensification on the third day of the French
mission, striking at the heart of the vast area seized by rebels
in April.

Jan 13, 2013

Malians line up to give blood to war effort

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Hundreds of Malians lined up on Sunday to donate blood destined for their troops locked in a fierce battle against Islamist rebels occupying the northern two-thirds of the poor West African country.

Faced with a long and bitter war to dislodge the al Qaeda-linked rebel fighters, interim President Dioncounda Traore had appealed on Friday for everyone, including mining and telecoms firms, to contribute whatever they could.

Jan 13, 2013

France bombs Islamist stronghold in north Mali

BAMAKO/PARIS, Jan 13 (Reuters) – French fighter jets pounded
an Islamist rebel stronghold in northern Mali on Sunday as Paris
poured more troops into the capital Bamako, awaiting a West
African force to dislodge al Qaeda-linked insurgents from the
country’s north.

The attack on Gao, the largest city in the desert region
controlled by the Islamist alliance, marked a decisive drive
northwards on the third day of French air strikes, moving deep
into the vast territory seized by rebels in April.

Jan 13, 2013

France bombs Mali rebels as more troops arrive in Bamako

BAMAKO/PARIS, Jan 13 (Reuters) – French fighter jets bombed
Islamist rebels in Mali for a third day on Sunday as Paris
poured more troops into the capital Bamako, awaiting the arrival
of a West African force to dislodge al Qaeda-linked insurgents
from the country’s north.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France’s
dramatic intervention on Friday to bomb a convoy of heavily
armed Islamist fighters sweeping southwards had stopped them
from seizing Mali’s capital Bamako within days.

Jan 13, 2013

France bombs Mali rebels, African states ready troops

BAMAKO/PARIS (Reuters) – French aircraft pounded Islamist rebels in Mali for a second day on Saturday and neighboring West African states sped up their plans to deploy troops in an international campaign to prevent groups linked to al Qaeda expanding their power base.

France, warning that the control of northern Mali by the militants posed a security threat to Europe, intervened dramatically on Friday as heavily armed Islamist fighters swept southwards towards Mali’s capital Bamako.

Jan 12, 2013

West African states poised to send troops to fight Mali rebels

BAMAKO/PARIS (Reuters) – West African states prepared to send troops to Mali and French aircraft bombed Islamist fighters there, as an international campaign to crush rebels who have seized the north of the country gathered pace.

A French pilot died on Friday when his helicopter was shot down near the central Mali town of Mopti. Hours later, in Somalia, a bid to rescue a French hostage held by Islamists failed and Paris said it believed the man had died in the raid.

    • 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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