France to pursue Mali mission, raise domestic security

France’s President Francois Hollande delivers a statment on the situation in Mali at the Elysee Palace in Paris, January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

PARIS, (Reuters) – France will pursue operations in Mali to prepare a subsequent African-led intervention to oust Islamist rebels and will step up anti-terrorist security measures on its own territory, President Francois Hollande said on Saturday.

An army officer at the headquarters of Mali’s former military junta in Bamako said “over 100” rebels had been killed, while a shopkeeper in Konna said he had counted 148 bodies, among them several dozen government soldiers.

France's President Francois Hollande delivers a statment on the situation in Mali at the Elysee Palace in Paris, January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
France’s President Francois Hollande delivers a statment on the situation in Mali at the Elysee Palace in Paris, January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

“We have driven them out, we are effectively in Konna,” Malian Defence Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Diaran Kone told Reuters. “We don’t know if they have planted mines or other traps, so we are moving with caution. There were many deaths on both sides.”

As French aircraft pounded rebel fighters for a second day, Hollande said he had given instructions that the several hundred French troops sent to Mali must keep their actions strictly limited to supporting a West African ECOWAS operation.

“We have already held back the progress of our adversaries and inflicted heavy losses on them. But our mission is not over yet,” Hollande said, a day after French forces launched air strikes and reinforced the capital Bamako to pre-empt a feared rebel advance towards the city.

One French pilot was killed in Friday’s air strikes, in a blow to the start of a campaign which represents Hollande’s biggest foreign policy test since his May election.

France also lost a commando and a secret agent held hostage since 2009 in a raid in Somalia on Saturday, an operation Hollande said had been planned several days ago. His defence minister said earlier that the operations were unrelated.

“This operation confirms France’s determination not to give in to the blackmail of terrorists,” Hollande said of the Somalia incident. “In the days ahead, we will pursue our intervention in Mali,” he told a news conference.

Concerned about reprisals on French soil, Hollande said he had asked his prime minister to reinforce security in public buildings and on public transport as quickly as possible.

Comments  

Police still baffled by discovery of 13 starved, abused siblings

PERRIS, Calif., (Reuters) – Police said yesterday they were still seeking answers after finding 13 siblings starving in their parents’ squalid Southern California home, some of them chained to beds under “horrific” conditions in an otherwise ordinary suburb.

Former Trump aide Bannon refuses to comply with House subpoena

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon declined on Tuesday to comply with a subpoena ordering him to answer questions from a House intelligence panel about his time at the White House as part of its investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the U.S.

El Salvador eyes work scheme with Qatar for migrants facing exit from U.S.

SAN SALVADOR, (Reuters) – El Salvador is discussing a deal with Qatar under which Salvadoran migrants facing the loss of their right to stay in the United States could live and work temporarily in the Middle Eastern country, the government of the Central American nation said on Tuesday.

Nations at North Korea meeting commit to considering more sanctions

VANCOUVER, (Reuters) – A 20-nation meeting on North Korea agreed yesterday to consider imposing unilateral sanctions on Pyongyang that go beyond those required by U.N.

Britain’s Carillion collapses after banks pull the plug

LONDON,  (Reuters) – Carillion collapsed yesterday when its banks pulled the plug, triggering Britain’s biggest corporate failure in a decade and forcing the government to step in to guarantee public services from school meals to roadworks.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×