Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

France's top consumer group sues Internet giants

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users pay tribute to South Korea ferry victims

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine separatist crisis overshadows Easter celebrations

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels call for Russian troops after deadly clash

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

Africa

France in Mali: A year of hunting jihadists in West Africa

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-11

One year ago, France launched a military offensive to rout armed rebels and Islamist militants from Mali’s northern territories. FRANCE 24 takes a look back at the key moments of France’s intervention in the west African country.

On January 11, 2013, President François Hollande gave the executive order for France’s military to start Operation Serval. The initial aim of the air and ground attack was to halt the advance of a coalition of Tuareg rebel and Islamist fighters who had already claimed around half of Mali’s territory from government forces.

Twelve months on, French troops have been praised for successfully pushing back and diminishing armed groups like al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO). But sporadic unrest in Mali’s troubled desert north continues.

Mali has elected a new president and is enjoying relative stability, but 2,500 French soldiers still remain on the ground. Reduced by about half since the height of the military operation, French forces should now be shaved down to 1,000 soldiers in the coming months.

As Operation Serval winds down, FRANCE 24 takes a look back at 13 key dates from the one-year-old intervention.

January 11, 2013: France launches Operation Serval to repel armed rebel and Islamist fighters who overran half the country in a few months. During the previous day, the Malian army had lost control of the strategic central town of Konna, located just 70 kilometres from Mopti, the country’s third largest city.

Three days later, a French bombing campaign pushes Islamist fighters out of the main northern cities, while Paris announces the start of ground operations.

January 26-30: French and Malian troops liberate the former Islamist stronghold of Gao, and push on to the ancient city of Timbuktu which has been abandoned by fleeing militants.

French troops then reclaim the airstrip near Kidal, a town near the northeastern border that is under the control of the MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad) separatist rebel group. Chadian soldiers who are also part of the French-led military coalition are given the task to keep and secure the strategic area.

February 18: A new offensive to dislodge entrenched Islamist fighters from the mountainous Ifoghas region near Kidal leads to significant losses for Chadian special forces fighting along French soldiers. In late February, the French army announces the death of the Algerian-born militant Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, one of AQIM’s top commanders.

April 8: Operation “Gustav” north of the city of Gao commits one of the largest contingents of French soldiers since the start of the intervention. Over 1,000 soldiers are backed by drones, fighter jets and armoured vehicles.

June 18: Malian authorities and Tuareg MNLA rebels – who still occupy the town of Kidal – agree on a ceasefire in the Burkina Faso capital of Ouagadougou. The accord paves the way for national elections and the progressive return of the Malian army into the territories previously held by rebels.

 • July 1: The authority of the so-called African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) military mission is officially transferred to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) peacekeeping operation.

August 11: Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK), a former prime minister, is declared the winner in the second round of the presidential election with 77.62% support.

Mali once again boasts a popularly-elected president, more than one year after the March 2012 coup ousted Amadou Toumani Touré and precipitated the loss of half the country’s territory to Islamists.

September 28: After several months of relative calm, Islamist insurgents launch a new wave of violence. Over a dozen civilians and members of the MINUSMA force are killed in bomb attacks.

October 20: In a bid to “curb the resurgence” of terrorist elements, Operation "Hydra" is launched by French, Malian and Minusma forces near the border with Niger.

November 2: French RFI radio journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon are kidnapped in Kidal and murdered. It was their second assignment in the region. In July they had covered the first round of the presidential elections from Kidal.

December 15: President Keita’s party, Rally for Mali, wins the second round of parliamentary elections. The party and its allies win 115 of the 147 seats in the country’s National Assembly.

January 8, 2014: In his annual New Year address to France’s military personnel, President Hollande says that “the bulk of the work has been accomplished” in Mali. He also announces that French forces will be scaled down to 1,600 by mid-February, and then gradually to around 1,000 troops.

Date created : 2014-01-11

  • MALI

    Mali, one year after France's Operation Serval

    Read more

  • MALI

    Kidal, a lawless outpost in Mali's desert north

    Read more

  • MALI – FRANCE

    France says RFI journalists ‘assassinated in cold blood’

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)