Start making sense of your financial wellness.

Watch the Sitholes every Thursday at 17h30 on e.tv

Focus on making Mali secure - Hollande

Comment on this story


IOL pic feb12 mali fighting

Associated Press

A Malian boy climbs the wall of the police station in Gao, northern Mali, on Monday, after Mujao fighters engaged in a firefight with Malian forces. French and Malian government forces have regained control of this northern city.

Paris - French President Francois Hollande said on Monday that France was in the phase of securing areas from where Islamists had been routed in Mali as his Nigerian counterpart warned this could not occur overnight.

Speaking exactly a month after France launched a military offensive in its former West African colony to flush out extremists holding the vast arid north, Hollande said the drive had been a huge success.

“The greater part of Malian territory has been freed, no town is occupied by a terrorist group and no networks or groups who had up until now threatened the lives of Malians are capable of launching a real offensive,” Hollande said.

“We are therefore no longer pursuing the liberation of territory but securing it,” he said, adding that an African force called AFISMA should now pick up the baton from the French troops.

France launched its operation on January 11, responding to a cry for help from Mali's interim government by sending fighter jets, attack helicopters and ground troops to battle Islamists who had seized control of the north for 10 months and were advancing into southern territory.

The campaign racked up a string of early successes as French and African troops drove the extremists from Gao, Timbuktu and the rest of the towns under their control.

But the turn to suicide attacks, landmine explosions and guerrilla fighting show the deep security problems still facing Mali - and by extension France, which is eager to wind down the operation.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said the problem was just not "how to weed out the rebels”, but beyond that, stressing that Mail's "government is weak and is not elected”.

He underscored the need to "make sure that the elections are quickly done in Mali and to build up security”.

"AFISMA will continue to be there for some time because the rebels will come back as terrorists using guerrilla tactics," he said.

"Terror groups are not groups you can overrun immediately," he said. "It's not going to be an overnight operation, it will take some time.” - Sapa-AFP


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

     

Join us on

IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks

Business Directory