In Mali, France aims for 'total reconquest'
BAMAKO, Mali — France's military goal in Mali is “total reconquest,” French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Sunday.
“We will not leave any pockets” of resistance, he told French television.
France has sent 2,000 troops to help Malian forces fight Islamists who have been in control of the northern half of the country.
Le Drian said the former Islamist stronghold of Diabaly had not yet been retaken, even though the militants withdrew from the town two days ago.
Backed by French airstrikes, Malian forces appeared close to recapturing the key central town of 35,000, which hosts an important military camp. Al-Qaida-linked jihadists moved into Diabaly last week.
“Right now, the town of Diabaly is not retaken,” Le Drian told France-5 TV. “(But) everything leads us to believe Diabaly is going to head in the positive direction in the coming hours.”
The French military said late Sunday on its website that fighter planes and helicopter gunships had carried out a dozen operations in the previous 24 hours — half of them to strike “terrorist vehicles.”
Malian officials said the Islamists left Diabaly on Friday.
However, the Malian military suspects the fighters are hiding in a nearby forest, the BBC reported.
“The situation in the vicinity of Diabaly is confused for the moment,” a French colonel told the BBC.
A senior Malian military figure cautioned that parts of Diabaly's population were sympathetic to the Islamists, and this made their task difficult.
The zone around Diabaly remains blocked off by a military cordon.
Video obtained by The Associated Press from Diabaly on Saturday showed burned-out vehicles, scattered bullets and several armored vehicles belonging to the Malian army lying abandoned and damaged along roadsides.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Russia acts to stanch ruble’s plummet
- Russia acts to stanch plummet of ruble’s value
- Hope for better days in Pakistan shattered in school attack
- Parisians oppose wood-burning ban
- Air traffic control center computer failure cancels flights in London
- Americans, Belgians gather in Ardennes to mark 70th anniversary of Battle of the Bulge
- At U.N. climate talks, a crack in rich-poor barrier
- 2 decades on, Serbs held in Muslim deaths
- Kurdish Iraqi forces battle ISIS to try to clear way to Syrian border