TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

French forces take action against Mali Islamists

Related .pdfs
Can't view the attachment? Then download the latest version of the free, Adobe Acrobat reader here:

Get Adobe Reader

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, 8:06 p.m.
 

BAMAKO, Mali — France launched airstrikes on Friday to help the government of Mali defeat al-Qaida-linked militants who captured more ground this week, dramatically raising the stakes in the battle for this vast desert nation.

French President Francois Hollande said the “terrorist groups, drug traffickers and extremists” in northern Mali “show a brutality that threatens us all.” He vowed that the operation would last “as long as necessary.”

France said it was taking the action in Mali at the request of President Dioncounda Traore, who declared a state of emergency because of the militants' advance.

In Washington, a federal official told Reuters that the Pentagon was weighing options in Mali, including intelligence-sharing with France and logistics support.

On Thursday, the Islamists moved the closest they've been to territory under government control and fought the Malian military for the first time in months, seizing the strategic city of Konna.

Sanda Abou Moahmed, a spokesman for the Ansar Dine group, condemned Mali's president for seeking help from its former colonizer.

“While Dioncounda Traore asked for help from France, we ask for guidance from Allah and from other Muslims in our sub-region because this war has become a war against the crusaders,” Moahmed said by telephone from Timbuktu.

For the past nine months, the Islamic militants have controlled a large swath of northern Mali, a lawless desert region where kidnapping has flourished. The rebels imposed strict Shariah, or Islamic law, in the north, causing panic among residents.

“French armed forces supported Malian units this afternoon to fight against terrorist elements,” Hollande said in Paris.

He did not give any details of the operation, other than to say that it was aimed in part at protecting the 6,000 French citizens in Mali.

Late in the day, Reuters reported that Malian government troops were able to drive back the Islamist rebels from Konna, thanks to the French intervention.

“The Malian army has retaken Konna with the help of our military partners. We are there now,” Lt. Col. Diaran Kone told Reuters.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Abbas seems desperate in round of belligerent rhetoric
  2. Canadians more fearful, aware after ‘very rare’ attack in Ottawa
  3. Mom of Canada suspect: I cry for victims, not son
  4. Lone gunman kills monument guard, attacks Canada’s Parliament
  5. Fiercest fighting in days hits Syrian border town of Kobani
  6. 2 dead in shooting attack at Canada’s Parliament
  7. Iraqi Kurds to send fighters to aid Kobani
  8. Loophole rewards expelled Nazi suspects with Social Security benefits
  9. Nasal cells help paralyzed man make history by walking
  10. Deepening U.S. commitment to Kobani ties Obama’s Islamic State effort to Kurds’ fate
  11. ISIS claims it grabs U.S. military ware
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.