Bureau Chief, Southeastern U.S. and Caribbean
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Mar 18, 2013

Embassy surrender is end of line for Congo’s “Terminator”

By Pascal Fletcher and Richard Valdmanis

(Reuters) – It was a surprisingly meek end of a career for “The Terminator”, one of the world’s most wanted war crime fugitives.

Bosco Ntaganda, the Rwandan-born Tutsi rebel sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and an alleged leader of the M23 revolt in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, walked into the U.S. embassy in Rwanda on Monday and handed himself over, the U.S. government said.

Mar 6, 2013

Insight: Mending Mali poses political and ethnic puzzle

BAMAKO (Reuters) – When former colonial power France sent warplanes and troops to Mali on January 11 in a historic intervention, it did not just halt a menacing advance on the capital Bamako by Islamist rebels allied to al Qaeda.

It also snuffed out what diplomats and local politicians say was a political conspiracy in the capital to oust Mali’s interim civilian rulers, an attempted replay of the March 2012 coup that had plunged the Sahel state into turmoil and made it a potential launch pad for attacks on Western interests.

Feb 21, 2013

Mali war aims to crush rebels: African commander

BAMAKO (Reuters) – French and African forces aim to hunt down and eradicate Islamist rebels in northern Mali, not contain them, the African contingent commander said on Thursday.

The African military force (AFISMA) drawn mainly from Mali’s neighbors is accelerating deployment in support of around 4,000 French soldiers already on the ground in the Sahel nation, said its commander Nigerian Major General Shehu Abdul-Kadir.

Feb 20, 2013

French general urges EU to equip “impoverished” Mali army

BAMAKO, Mali (Reuters) – The European Union should complement a mission to train Mali’s army, routed by rebels last year, by providing equipment from uniforms to vehicles and communications technology, a French general said on Wednesday.

General Francois Lecointre, appointed to head the EU training mission to Mali (EUTM) that was formally launched this week, said in Bamako equipping the “very impoverished” and disorganized Malian army was as important as training it.

Feb 18, 2013

U.S. could resume direct Mali military aid if elections successful

BAMAKO, Mali (Reuters) – The United States is likely to eventually resume direct support for Mali’s military, but only after full restoration of democracy through elections, the head of a visiting U.S. Congress delegation said on Monday.

Senator Christopher Coons, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa, was leading the first American congressional visit to the West African nation since France sent a military force there last month to halt an offensive by al Qaeda-allied insurgents.

Feb 1, 2013

France, Africa face tough Sahara phase of Mali war

BAMAKO/DAKAR (Reuters) – The French or African troops who hunt down the Islamist fighters holed up in the mountains and deserts of northeast Mali may find a resilient enemy capable of fighting back with a concealed arsenal of surprising firepower.

France’s initial success in its three-week old intervention in its former colony has gained Paris plaudits at home and abroad as a welcome blow struck against radical jihadists threatening Africa and the West.

Feb 1, 2013

Analysis: France, Africa face tough Sahara phase of Mali war

BAMAKO/DAKAR (Reuters) – The French or African troops who hunt down the Islamist fighters holed up in the mountains and deserts of northeast Mali may find a resilient enemy capable of fighting back with a concealed arsenal of surprising firepower.

France’s initial success in its three-week old intervention in its former colony has gained Paris plaudits at home and abroad as a welcome blow struck against radical jihadists threatening Africa and the West.

Jan 31, 2013

Bulk of Timbuktu manuscripts survived occupation

DAKAR (Reuters) – The majority of Timbuktu’s ancient manuscripts appear to be safe and undamaged after the Saharan city’s 10-month occupation by Islamist rebel fighters, experts said on Wednesday, rejecting some media reports of their widespread destruction.

Denying accounts that told of tens of thousands of priceless papers being burned or stolen by the fleeing rebels, they said the bulk of the Timbuktu texts had been safely hidden well before the city’s liberation by French forces on Sunday.

Jan 30, 2013

Bulk of Timbuktu manuscripts survived occupation unharmed

DAKAR (Reuters) – The majority of Timbuktu’s ancient manuscripts appear to be safe and unharmed after the Saharan city’s 10-month occupation by Islamist rebel fighters, experts said on Wednesday, rejecting some media reports of their widespread destruction.

Denying accounts that told of tens of thousands of priceless papers being burned or stolen by the fleeing rebels, they said the bulk of the Timbuktu texts had been safely hidden well before the city’s liberation by French forces on Sunday.

Jan 30, 2013

Bulk of Timbuktu manuscripts safe, unharmed: experts

DAKAR (Reuters) – The vast majority of Timbuktu’s ancient manuscripts in state and private collections appear to be unharmed after the Malian Saharan city’s 10-month occupation by Islamist rebel fighters, who burnt some of the scripts, experts said on Wednesday.

The news, based on information from persons directly involved with the conservation of the historic texts, came as a relief to the world’s cultural community which had been dismayed by varying media reports of widespread destruction of the priceless manuscripts.

    • About Pascal

      "I am based in Miami, heading the editorial reporting team covering the southeastern United States and the Caribbean. This includes Cuba and Haiti and we are also in charge of covering the annual Atlantic hurricane season and Space missions from Cape Canaveral. Previously, I was Chief Correspondent for West and Central Africa, and chief correspondent, Venezuela, following earlier postings in Cuba, Brazil, southern Africa, Portugal and Spain."
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