AFRICA: Mali Developments

February 28, 2013 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

France in Mali

French Rafales jets in Mali.(Copyright French Ministry of Defence)

French Rafale jets in Mali.
(Copyright French Ministry of Defence)

Fighting against Islamist extremists in the mountains of northern Mali is turning out to be taking longer than first projected, says French officials who acknowledged today (Feb. 28) that their troops will likely remain in the North West African nation until July, the Associated Press reports.

The French military intervention, which began with helicopter and fighter jet airstrikes Jan. 11, was expected to be a quick in and out operation — officials had been talking about a March pullout. But now several French officials tell the AP that the 4,000 French troops in Mali will have to stay longer.

German Mali Mission Approved

Germany's Transnall aircraft have provided  transport services in Mali.(Bundeswehr photo by Bicker)

Germany’s C-160 Transall aircraft have provided transport services in Mali.
(Bundeswehr photo by Bicker)

German lawmakers have given their permission for German military advisers to begin training Mali’s battered army. The mission was approved by lawmakers Feb. 27. As many as 350 German troops could be sent to Mali. About 180 troops will provide training, while another 150 German troops will provide logistical support including air transport and aerial refueling. But German troops will not be deployed in combat operations, according to German broadcaster Deutsche Weller (DW).

German troops have had some experience in Mali. Between 2005 and the military coup last year that spiraled into unrest and chaos, Bundesweher (German Federal Defence force) advisers have been permanently stationed in Mali, the German defense ministry told DW. Those advisers help Mali’s army set up an engineers unit.

Top Insurgent Commander Killed?

Algeria(CIA World Factbook)

Algeria
(CIA World Factbook)

French forces fighting in Mali are believed to have killed a top commander of al Qaeda’s North Africa wing according to an Algerian TV channel, Reuters reports. The TV channel said Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, was killed in operations against Islamist fighters in northern Mali. The television channel Ennahar of Algeria said Abou Zeid was among 40 militants killed three days ago near the border with Algeria. Reuters said Ennahar is well connected with Algeria’s security services. French and Chadian troops have been trying to dislodge fighters from northern Mali since mid-January.

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Entry filed under: Africa, Counter Insurgency, Counter Terrorism, National Security and Defense, News Developments. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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