Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Featured on Press TV's Top Five: 'French Military Offensive in Mali Continues'

Military offensive in Mali continuing: France

Sun Oct 27, 2013 2:39AM GMT

To watch this interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the website below:

A high-ranking French military official says a major military offensive against local fighters in the north of Mali continues.

French, Malian, and UN troops are involved in the operation, named Hydra, which is expected to last at least 10 days, according to French military spokesman Colonel Gilles Jaron.

"It is the first time we have seen forces of significant size working together," he added.

Jaron did not specify exactly when the offensive had started.

France began a major military intervention in its former colony in January, expressing concerns about the growing influence of militant in northern Mali and a rebellion by Tuareg separatists that threatened the French-backed Malian government.

Following a fierce war against the militants, France handed over control of what it refers to as the “peacekeeping mission” to MINUSMA.

MINUSMA took over security duties in July from a UN-backed African force in Mali. It has some 5,200 troops of its mandated strength of more than 12,000 military personnel.

However, France still maintains more than 3,000 troops in the impoverished African country.

In February, Amnesty International said “serious human rights breaches” -- including the killing of children -- were occurring in the French war in Mali.

Chaos broke out in the West African country after Malian President Amadou Toumani Touré was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012.

The coup leaders said they mounted the coup in response to the government's inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country, which had been going on for two months.

However, in the wake of the coup d’état, the Tuareg rebels took control of the entire northern desert region, but the Ansar Dine extremists then pushed them aside and took control of the region, which is larger than France or Texas.

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