Risk of 'terrorists' setting up in Mali

2012-06-11 21:59
French President Francois Hollande has warned there is a risk of “terrorist” groups setting up in northern Mali. (AFP, File pictures)

French President Francois Hollande has warned there is a risk of “terrorist” groups setting up in northern Mali. (AFP, File pictures)

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

Paris - French President Francois Hollande warned on Monday there was a risk of "terrorist" groups setting up in northern Mali and said France would back African bodies seeking a UN mandate to intervene.

"There is a threat of terrorist groups setting up in northern Mali. There is outside intervention that is destabilising Mali and setting up groups whose vocation goes well beyond Mali, in Africa and perhaps beyond," Hollande said.

He said that it was up to the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) to take the lead and seek UN Security Council backing.

"This threat exists, it's for the Africans to avert it, for them to decide. Ecowas is at once the judicial instrument for that and the possible military instrument," Hollande told journalists.

"It's for the Africans to go to the Security Council, we will back the resolution that will be put forward by Ecowas," he said.

"If an intervention is decided upon, it's for the Africans to lead it, France like other powers putting themselves at the service of the United Nations."

Hollande was speaking following talks in Paris with Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou , who said he was ready to go to war to restore Mali's territorial integrity after rival groups sought to set up a breakaway state there.

Issoufou, whose country shares a long and porous desert border with Mali, himself warned last week that jihadi fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan were training Islamist groups there as world powers mull armed intervention.


"I confirm this information, the situation is worrying," Issoufou said.

"This is a threat not only for the region but also for the world," he said, confirming also that Ecowas and the African Union would seek a UN Security Council resolution but without mentioning a timetable.

Mali, once considered a democratic success story in western Africa, has plunged into chaos since the collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya last year scattered mercenaries and weapons across the Sahel.

Tuareg rebels rekindled their decades-old struggle for independence in January and conquered the entire northern half of Mali virtually unopposed in March, after renegade soldiers who accused then-president Amadou Toumani Toure of failing to do enough to fight the rebellion toppled his regime.

The Tuareg rebels fought alongside a previously unknown Islamist group called Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith), which is believed to be backed by al-Qaeda's north African branch.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) has been active for years in northern Mali, where it has launched attacks against government army positions, kidnapped foreigners and allegedly benefitted from drug running.

Government troops have no control over Mali's north, a territory larger than France, heightening fears in the region and beyond that the landlocked country could become a new global haven for Al-Qaeda.

Read more on:    aqim  |  ecowas  |  al-qaeda  |  un  |  francois hollande  |  muammar gaddafi  |  mali  |  france  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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.


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.