French fight insurgents in Mali

2014-10-29 23:16
French and Malian troops have recaptured the Malian towns of Diabaly and Douentza from Islamist fighters. (Issouf Sanogo, AFP)

French and Malian troops have recaptured the Malian towns of Diabaly and Douentza from Islamist fighters. (Issouf Sanogo, AFP)

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

Paris - France's defence minister says a violent clash broke out in northern Mali between French forces and militants linked to al-Qaeda's North Africa branch.

Speaking at the National Assembly, Jean-Yves Le Drian said the fighting involved French forces leading a counter-terrorism sweep and a sizeable armed group linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. He said the fighting that began overnight in Mali's Ifoghas mountains had ended late on Wednesday afternoon. He didn't immediately specify any casualties or provide further details.

In a vast counter-terrorism operation last year, French forces honouring a request from Mali's weakened government fought and largely expelled insurgents from northern Mali - then controlled by the al-Qaeda linked militants. But a recent resurgence of attacks that have killed 21 UN peacekeepers since early September led France to intensify military operations in the region.

In coordination with the peacekeepers, French troops including special forces launched operations focusing on the Ifoghas. A top French defence official estimated that as many as 200 insurgents remain active in northern Mali. He spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

France also recently intensified military operations in neighbouring Niger, aiming at stopping al-Qaeda arms shipments from Libya to Africa's Sahel region, an arid belt that stretches through several countries on the Sahara's southern rim. French defence officials say many of the fighters who were expelled from Mali have since gone to Libya.

Since the French military sweep last year sent many insurgents scurrying abroad, France has this year taken a regional approach against Islamist groups in Sahel. It has deployed some 3 000 troops, 200 armoured vehicles and six fighter jets in the former French colonies of Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad and Mali.

Read more on:    aqim  |  al-qaeda  |  france  |  mali

Join the conversation! 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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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 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.