West & Central Africa Correspondent, Dakar
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Jan 16, 2013

France launches ground campaign against Mali rebels

BAMAKO/PARIS, Jan 16 (Reuters) – French troops launched
their first ground assault against Islamist rebels in Mali on
Wednesday in a broadening of their operation against
battle-hardened al Qaeda-linked fighters who have resisted six
days of air strikes.

France has called for international support against Islamist
insurgents it says pose a threat to Africa and the West,
acknowledging it faces a long fight against the well-equipped
militant fighters who seized Mali’s vast desert north last year.

Jan 16, 2013

French, Malian troops encircle Islamist rebels in central Mali

BAMAKO/PARIS, Jan 16 (Reuters) – French ground troops and
Malian army forces encircled Islamist fighters in the central
Malian town of Diabaly on Wednesday, military sources said, as
France prepared to launch its first ground assault on the
rebels.

France, which has warned that Islamists’ seizure of Mali’s
desert north last year represented a threat to the security of
the West, moved a column of armoured vehicles on Tuesday into
position at the nearby town of Niono, some 300 km (190 miles)
from the dusty riverside capital Bamako.

Jan 16, 2013

France to stay in Mali until stability restored

BAMAKO/DUBAI (Reuters) – France pledged on Tuesday to keep troops in Mali until stability returned to the West African country, raising the specter of a long campaign against al Qaeda-linked rebels who held their ground despite a fifth day of air strikes.

Paris has poured hundreds of soldiers into Mali and carried out 50 bombing raids since Friday in the Islamist-controlled northern half of the country, which Western and regional states fear could become a base for terrorist attacks in Africa and Europe.

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.

    • 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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