French army kills 11 militants in Mali

2014-01-24 15:39

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Bamako - A French counter-terrorism offensive in rebel-infested northern Mali ended on Friday with 11 Islamist militants killed and a French soldier wounded, military sources inside the operation told AFP.

The action came as Paris steps up its campaign against armed groups linked to al-Qaeda holed up in Mali's vast desert, following the former French colony's recent return to democratic government after a coup which plunged the country into chaos.

"The French military operation in the Timbuktu region is completed. Eleven terrorists were killed. A French soldier was wounded but his life is not in danger," said an official from France's Operation Serval military mission in its former colony.

A foreign source told AFP on Thursday troops were targeting the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao), the Signatories in Blood - an armed unit founded by fugitive jihadist commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar - and fighters loyal to slain warlord Abdelhamid Abou Zeid.

A Malian military source confirmed the information, saying "the French have done a good job, because the jihadists, notably from Libya, are reorganising to occupy the region and dig in permanently".

The sources said military equipment and phones belonging to Islamist militants were seized by French troops.

The operation took place a few hundred kilometres north of the desert caravan town of Timbuktu, according to a Malian security source.

Algerians Abou Zeid and Belmokhtar were leaders of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim), which, along with Mujao and other Islamist groups took advantage of a military coup in 2012 to occupy northern Mali before being driven out by French-led troops.

Anniversary of massacre

Abou Zeid was killed in fighting led by the French army in the far-northern Ifoghas mountains in late February last year, while Belmokhtar remains at large.

An African military source in MINUSMA, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali, confirmed the operations on Thursday, while a local government source in Timbuktu told AFP "more than 100 French soldiers" had headed north from the town.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke of the operation when he was asked by a French television station on Thursday to assess military activities in Mali over the past year.

He said that "not everything is finished, the terrorist risk in this part of Africa remains high".

"We will keep 1 000 soldiers who are carrying out counter-terrorism missions," he added.

"We have operations targeting groups rebuilding on two fronts, firstly around Timbuktu and then in the Ifoghas mountains."

Belmokhtar split from Aqim last year and launched the Signatories in Blood, masterminding a raid of Algeria's In Amenas gas plant in which 38 hostages were killed in a four-day siege.

Abou Zeid was credited with having significantly expanded Aqim's field of operations to Tunisia and Niger, and for kidnapping activities across the region.

Military intervention

Mali has been the target of a series of attacks claimed by Islamist insurgents since France launched its military intervention in January last year.

The residual groups of fighters are no longer able to carry out co-ordinated assaults, but Malian soldiers are vulnerable to small-scale attacks, by Islamist groups and also by separatist rebels from the country's Tuareg ethnic group.

Flags were flown at half mast in army barracks across Mali on Friday, according to a statement from the Ministry of Defence, in commemoration of the two-year anniversary of a mass killing by Tuareg separatists which came to be known as the Massacre of Aguelhoc.

When the northern town of Aguelhoc was taken on 24 January 2012, more than 90 soldiers and civilians had their throats slit or were shot in summary executions by the separatist Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad.

The statement said special prayers for the dead were planned in the garrison town of Kati, 15km northeast of Bamako, as well as religious services on Sunday.

Read more on:    aqim  |  al-qaeda  |  mujao  |  france  |  mali  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Mind power dominates and can help you to uncover things from a deeper level, but it can also create entanglements if you let your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.