Bureau Chief, Southeastern U.S. and Caribbean
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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.

Jan 29, 2013
via FaithWorld

Radical Islamists fleeing Timbuktu leave legacy of destruction behind them

Photo

(Librarian Aboubakar Yaro examines an Islamic manuscript from the 17th century at the Djenne Library of Manuscipts, in Djenne, September 1, 2012. Librarians from the northern Malian town of Timbuktu–besieged since April by Al-Qaeda linked Islamists–are urging the digitization of Djenne’s manuscripts. Picture taken September 1, 2012. REUTERS/Joe Penney )

The burning of a library housing thousands of ancient manuscripts in Mali’s desert city of Timbuktu is just the latest act of destruction by Islamist fighters who have spent months smashing graves and holy shrines in the World Heritage site.

Jan 28, 2013

Fleeing Islamists leave legacy of destruction in Timbuktu

Jan 28 (Reuters) – The burning of a library housing
thousands of ancient manuscripts in Mali’s desert city of
Timbuktu is just the latest act of destruction by Islamist
fighters who have spent months smashing graves and holy shrines
in the World Heritage site.

The United Nations cultural body UNESCO said it was trying
to find out the precise damage done to the Ahmed Baba Institute,
a modern building that contains priceless documents dating back
to the 13th century.

Jan 13, 2013

Analysis: French early strike shakes up Mali intervention plan

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – France has rushed to help Mali block a push south by Islamist rebels from its desert north but a U.N.-backed intervention plan to dislodge al Qaeda and its allies faces a tough enemy and terrain and could still take months – if it succeeds at all.

The original timetable for the AFISMA intervention force of 3,300 West African troops with western logistical, financial and intelligence backing did not foresee deployment before September, to allow time for full preparation.

    • 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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