Joe's Feed
Mar 3, 2013

French soldier killed in Mali, Belmokhtar fate unsure

PARIS/GAO, Mali (Reuters) – France said on Sunday a third French soldier had been killed in fierce fighting with Islamist rebels in northern Mali but could not confirm Chad’s report that its troops had killed the al Qaeda commander behind January’s mass hostage-taking in Algeria.

A whirlwind seven-week campaign has driven al Qaeda-linked fighters who took over northern Mali last April into mountain and desert redoubts, where they are being hunted by hundreds of French, Chadian and Malian troops.

Mar 3, 2013

France says third soldier killed in Mali, fighting fierce

PARIS/GAO, Mali (Reuters) – France said on Sunday a third French soldier had been killed fighting Islamist rebels in Mali and reiterated that it could not confirm Chad’s report that its own troops had killed the al Qaeda commander behind January’s mass hostage-taking in Algeria.

A whirlwind seven-week campaign has driven al Qaeda-linked fighters who took over northern Mali last April into mountain and desert redoubts, where they are being hunted by hundreds of French, Chadian and Malian troops.

Feb 24, 2013

Ten Chadian soldiers killed fighting Islamists in Mali

DJAMENA/GAO (Reuters) – Ten Chadian soldiers were killed in combat in northern Mali’s mountainous border with Algeria where Islamist rebels regrouped after losing urban areas to a French-led offensive, Chad’s army said on Sunday.

The latest Chadian fatalities came in an area of the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains where 13 Chadian soldiers were killed in clashes on Friday that centered around what one senior commander said was a rebel base of “significant importance”. At least 93 rebels have been killed in fighting in the area so far, Chad’s army said.

Feb 21, 2013

French, Malian forces fight Islamist rebels in Gao

GAO, Mali (Reuters) – French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Thursday, as fighting showed little sign of abating weeks before France plans to start withdrawing some forces.

Reuters reporters in Gao in the country’s desert north said French and Malian forces fired at the mayor’s office with heavy machineguns after Islamists were reported to have infiltrated the Niger River town during a night of explosions and gunfire.

Feb 21, 2013

French, Malian forces fight suspected Islamists in Gao

GAO, Mali (Reuters) – French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Thursday, as fighting showed little sign of abating weeks before France plans to start withdrawing some forces.

Reuters reporters in Gao in the country’s desert north said French and Malian forces fired at the mayor’s office with heavy machineguns after Islamists were reported to have infiltrated the Niger River town during a night of explosions and gunfire.

Jan 23, 2013

U.S., Africa say Mali action counters growing Islamist threat

DIABALY/SEGOU, Mali (Reuters) – The United States and African leaders threw their full diplomatic weight on Wednesday behind a campaign to expel Islamist rebels from Mali, as French air strikes harried the al Qaeda-allied fighters in their strongholds.

For nearly two weeks, French jets and helicopters have been hitting carefully selected targets around rebel-held Malian towns such as Gao and Timbuktu, while African troops gather for a planned ground offensive against the Islamist forces.

Nov 20, 2012
via Photographers' Blog

Guinea-Bissau: The weight of history

Photo

Gabu, Guinea-Bissau

By Joe Penney

When Guinea-Bissau is in the news, it’s almost always for the wrong reasons: coups d’état, assassinations, drug smuggling and extreme poverty.

Journalists like to cite the fact that since the tiny West African country switched to a multi-party system in 1995, no president has completed a full term. The country is often labeled a “narco-state” because of South American drug cartels using its islands and mainland as a waypoint for trafficking cocaine to Europe, even though its neighbors are dealing with the same problems.

Nov 13, 2012

Post-coup Bissau leader tries to restore EU ties

BISSAU (Reuters) – Guinea-Bissau’s caretaker President Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo may have one of the world’s toughest jobs – leading a country where cocaine smuggling is out of control, the economy is in freefall and violence is the top means to political ends.

But his biggest challenge is also the most fundamental: nearly seven months into his tenure, the European Union – once a source of hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the state – refuses to recognize his administration.

Oct 12, 2012

Canada’s Harper says must weigh national security in China ties

DAKAR, Oct 12 (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen
Harper said on Friday that his country wants a growing
relationship with China, but that its investments must be
scrutinized from a national security perspective.

Ottawa has indicated it will exclude Chinese
telecommunication equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd
from helping build a secure government communications
network because of possible security risks, and is also in the
midst of reviewing a controversial $15.1 billion Chinese bid for
Canadian oil and gas explorer Nexen Inc <NXY.T O>.

Sep 17, 2012

Mali’s economic pillars resist turmoil, for now

BAMAKO, Sept 17 (Reuters) – In the afternoon of March 21,
army mutineers stormed the office of Mali’s national cotton
company CMDT in central Bamako and fired AK-47 rounds into the
air.

When the dust cleared, the soldiers – who were angry about
how the government was handling a northern rebellion – realised
they had made a mistake: they’d meant to take over the state
television headquarters next door. And so they left.