Malians pummel extremists
GAO, Mali — Residents in Mali's newly liberated city of Gao hunted down and beat suspected Islamist extremists who had not fled with their brothers-in-arms as Malian and French military forces closed in and retook the town.
Malian troops bundled the men into an army truck on Tuesday, their hands bound behind their backs. For the better part of a year, the al-Qaida-linked extremists had banned music, insisted women cover themselves and began carrying out public executions and amputations in the towns of northern Mali that they controlled.
Now the Islamists' control of the cities has slipped, with the provincial capitals of Gao and Timbuktu coming back under government authority in quick succession with the arrival of French and Malian troops. They may have lost control of a third key city, Kidal.
France, the former colonial ruler, began sending in troops, helicopters and warplanes on Jan. 11 to turn the tide once the armed Islamists began encroaching on the south, toward the capital.
French and Malian troops seized Gao during the weekend, welcomed by joyous crowds. They took Timbuktu on Monday. The Islamists gave up both cities and retreated into the desert.
But not all of them left.
Members of a youth militia, the Gao Patrolmen, went house to house hunting down suspected Islamic extremists. Abdul Karim Samba, spokesman for the group, said men were scouring the town for remnants of the extremist Islamist group known as the Movement for Unity and Oneness of the Jihad.
“They are the Islamists who have gone into their homes to hide,” he said.
Troops from Chad, one of the African nations sending soldiers to help restore control, patrolled the streets, and French soldiers joined overnight patrols. The city market was slowly returning to normal.
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.
- Saudi aerial offensive pummels Yemen capital
- Blair to quit post as U.N. special Middle East envoy
- 4 Taliban attackers killed in Kabul siege
- Iran to try Washington Post reporter in closed court on spying charges
- Americans with taste for mojitos flock to Havana
- Conservative populist Duda becomes Poland’s president
- Dozens dead in gunfight on Mexico ranch
- Relentless heat wave kills more than 1,000 in India
- Popular tourist spot attacked in Afghanistan