Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Muhammadu Buhari sworn in as President

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

South african government denies FIFA was paid world cup bribe

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sepp Blatter strikes back

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Pantheon: Acknowledging France's great men and women

Read more

#TECH 24

One heart, one tree: An app that bridges tech and the environment

Read more

FOCUS

Immigration, an American paradox

Read more

REPORTERS

Video - Abu Azrael: ‘Iraq’s Rambo’

Read more

#THE 51%

Brave women of history: French Resistance Heroines inducted into Pantheon

Read more

Africa

France in 'major' operation against Mali extremists

© Photo: AFP

Video by Alex DUVAL SMITH

Text by Sam Ball

Latest update : 2013-10-24

French, Malian and UN troops have begun a “large-scale” military operation aimed at preventing a resurgence of Islamist organisations in Mali, the French military said Thursday, following a recent upswing in violence in the West African country.

A “large-scale” military operation against jihadist forces in Mali has been launched by French, Malian and UN troops, a spokesman for the French armed forces said Thursday.

The operation aims to “avoid [a] resurgence" of "terrorist organisations” in the country, Colonel Gilles Jaron told reporters.

He said "several hundred" French soldiers were involved in the operation alongside Malian soldiers and members of the UN's MINUSMA mission, adding: "It is the first time we have seen forces of significant size working together."

France launched a military intervention in its former colony in January this year after Islamist forces exploited a rebellion by Tuareg separatists to seize control of the north of the country.

After successfully ousting the Islamists, France handed over control of the peacekeeping mission to MINUSMA, though the country still has more than 3,000 troops stationed in Mali.

However, recent months have seen a rise in violence in the country in the form of both attacks by Islamic extremists as well as skirmishes between security forces and Tuareg separatists.

On Wednesday, a suicide bomber killed two Chadian troops from the UN mission and injured six other peacekeepers in an assault on a checkpoint at the entry to the northern town of Tessalit.

Colonel Gilles, however, stressed that such incidents had remained relatively small in scale and had been perpetrated largely by groups wanting to “dampen spirits without necessarily having the ability to engage in combat in the long term”.

“We know that not all of these terrorist groups […] in Mali were eliminated,” he said. “And at times, they may resurface as we move toward legislative elections," he said.

Mali is due to hold its first legislative elections since the Tuareg rebellion on November 24.

Earlier this month, the UN appealed for more troops and helicopters to be sent to Mali to help it with its peacekeeping operation. The UN Security Council originally mandated a 12,600-strong force in the country, but currently has just 5,200 troops on the ground.

Date created : 2013-10-24

  • MALI

    UN calls for more troops, helicopters for Mali mission

    Read more

  • MALI

    Suspected Islamists in Mali blow up bridge near Gao

    Read more

  • MALI

    Al Qaeda ‘terror blueprint’ for North Mali revealed

    Read more

COMMENT(S)