Mali soldiers step up presence in Gao

2013-02-12 22:38
Malian soldiers secure the port in Gao, in an effort to secure it from Mujao infiltrators. (Jerome Delay, AP)

Malian soldiers secure the port in Gao, in an effort to secure it from Mujao infiltrators. (Jerome Delay, AP)

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

kalahari.com

Gao - Soldiers from Niger and Mali patrolled downtown Gao on foot on Tuesday, combing the sand footpaths through empty market stalls to prevent radical Islamic fighters from returning to this embattled city in northern Mali.

The heavy presence of troops near the waterfront reflects efforts to fortify the Niger River landing point where the militants invaded on Sunday and launched a five-hour-long gun battle.

The once vibrant market of vendors selling everything from fish to livestock was nearly empty. On nearby streets spice sellers were open for business, their wares giving enticing smells, but most shoppers stayed away fearing the centre of commerce could be targeted by suicide bombers.

Ali Yattara kept his fabric shop open amid other shuttered businesses on the street.

"The atmosphere is calm and the presence of the troops is reassuring," he said, sitting with about a dozen people in front of his shop as the heavily armed Niger troops walked by.

However another Gao resident, Aboubacrine Almou, said he believes the city is still threatened by the Islamic fighters and that more reinforcements from other countries are needed to defend the beleaguered city.

"At this point, they can't do it alone - they need help," said Almou, carrying a radio as he walked downtown in a flowing gray robe and white turban wrapped around his head. "The French are very welcome and we are still waiting for the Americans."

The French have long said they intend for the Malians and forces from other African nations to quickly take over the military offensive, which France launched one month ago. Although France initially said that Gao would be secured by the Malians, French forces have been patrolling the city and guarding checkpoints since attacks by jihadists began last week.

Sunday's attack and two suicide bombings in which extremists detonated their explosives at military checkpoints show that Gao remains under threat. While neither suicide bombing killed other people, they have raised the alarm that the jihadists could be preparing to stage more devastating assaults on civilian centres in northern Mali.

14 arrested

It was still unclear how many jihadist fighters had penetrated the city in Sunday's attack, though at least 10 were killed by Malian forces, said Malian Lt Col Nema Sagadam.

At least 14 suspects had been arrested following searches in the area and would be transferred to the capital of Bamako, said Police Lt Col Salihou Maiga on Monday.

At least five of them were being held inside a building that smelled of urine with a tiny barred window. The metal door was secured with two padlocks.

One of the suicide bombers had stayed in a Gao house where Islamic extremists lived when they controlled Gao for nearly 10 months.

French President Francois Hollande said on Monday his goal is that "not one space of Mali's territory be under the control of terrorists".

"The essential part of the Malian territory is today liberated, but we haven't finished our task," said Hollande in Paris. "There are still terrorist pockets, notably in the extreme north of Mali, and operations are still being conducted by a certain number of groups."

Hollande's aim will require considerable effort as the Islamic extremists have dispersed into the desert from where it appears they will launch attacks on Gao and other centres in northern Mali.

- AP
Read more on:    france  |  niger  |  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
0 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

Camping gear!

We’ve got all your camping must have’s right here at mind blowing low prices. Check them out now!

Herbex – buy 3 & get 1 free!

Fat burn packs, appetite control chewies, stretch mark cream and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

30% off Jinger Jack handbags

Spice up your wardrobe and save 30% on stylish Jinger Jack handbags. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Buy 3 books & pay for 2

The cheapest of the 3 books will be free. Offer valid while stocks last. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

Deal of the week!

Hisense 40” Full HD LED Television now R3999. Offer valid while stocks last. Buy 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

Mercury has moved into Libra which adds a more social energy to the way you can communicate and connect things. Today is about...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.