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.
PARIS/MOGADISHU (Reuters) – France sent commandos into Somalia to rescue a secret agent who had been held by insurgents since 2009, but said on Saturday it believed he had been killed by his captors along with a French soldier during the raid.
The intelligence agency’s team flew into southern Somalia by helicopter under the cover of darkness to try to free Denis Allex from the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, on the same day France launched air strikes against Islamist militants in Mali.
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.
PARIS (Reuters) – French forces carried out a second day of air strikes against Islamist rebels in Mali on Saturday and sent troops to protect the capital Bamako in an operation involving several hundred soldiers, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.
A French pilot was killed on Friday when his helicopter was shot down during an air strike near the central town of Mopti as France began the operation to help the Malian government stem a push south by rebels who control much of the north, he said.
PARIS/MOGADISHU, Jan 12 (Reuters) – A French intelligence
officer held hostage in Somalia since 2009 was killed along with
at least one other soldier during a botched rescue attempt by
French troops on Friday night, the French Defence Ministry said
But the Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen insurgent group who
were holding Denis Allex said in a statement that he was still
alive and being held at a location far from the base where
French military helicopters attacked overnight.
PARIS/BAMAKO, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Malian government troops
drove back Islamist rebels from a strategic central town after
France intervened on Friday with air strikes to halt advances by
the militants controlling the country’s desert north.
Western governments, particularly former colonial power
France, had voiced alarm after the al Qaeda-linked rebel
alliance captured the town of Konna on Thursday, a gateway
towards the capital Bamako 600 km (375 miles) south.
PARIS/BAMAKO (Reuters) – Malian government troops drove back Islamist rebels from a strategic central town after France intervened on Friday with air strikes to halt advances by the militants controlling the country’s desert north.
Western governments, particularly former colonial power France, had voiced alarm after the al Qaeda-linked rebel alliance captured the town of Konna on Thursday, a gateway towards the capital Bamako 600 km (375 miles) south.
PARIS (Reuters) – France said it launched a military operation in Mali on Friday to help the government there stem a push southwards by Islamist rebels who control much of the north, in a turnaround from its earlier stance against intervention by its forces.
President Francois Hollande said a surge by the rebels into new territory this week had heightened the security situation and prompted France, backed by the U.N. Security Council and West African nations, to respond to a plea for help from its former colony.
PARIS (Reuters) – The French government has asked for a report that will outline ways to stop multinational companies dodging taxes, a practice that indirectly stifles local companies, culture minister Aurelie Filippetti said.
European countries have been stepping up efforts to clamp down on companies, mostly from the United States, which minimize their tax bills by channeling profit through low-tax regimes.
PARIS (Reuters) – The insurgency that has seized the north of Mali is paving the way for attacks on France as more French Muslims of African origin are finding a cause in the conflict, Paris’s top anti-terrorism judge warned on Sunday.
As Mali’s former colonial ruler, France fears al Qaeda’s north African arm, AQIM, is cementing a base in the West African state that would provide a launch pad against French political and economic interests at home and abroad.