Mali’s three weeks of fighting

Mali suffered a huge loss of territory, after extremists started to conquer the whole north of Mali. After that nothing happened for a while, until the extremists started to push forward to the south and the capital Bamako. The president of Mali asked the former colonial power France for help.
French troops came to help the Malian army to defend the country from the extremists. Now the terrorists escape and many of them are still at hidden places. Let’s take a further look on the events.

Mali´s situation is improving

[![Northern Mali conflict](https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/61/Northern_Mali_conflict.svg/512px-Northern_Mali_conflict.svg.png?resize=410%2C390&ssl=1)](http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ANorthern_Mali_conflict.svg "By Orionist [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons")
Map of Mali conflicts (state 30.01.13)
90% of the Malian people are Muslims, on the first view no bad thing but on the second you can suppose a handful of sympathisers of al-Qaeda and subsidiaries of him. That is one of many problems, Mali is confronted with. Corruption, joblessness and religious conflicts make it difficult as well to keep a secured democracy. The north of Mali was full of extremists and people from Somalia, Nigeria, Algeria and Tunisia belong to the Islamic fighters, who want to recruit troops. Tuareg and locals, which are in majority, are operating more and more at the north of the country.

Europe gets involved

On the 11th of January 2013, France joined the battle against the Islamic fighters after Mali’s interim president asked them for help. Meanwhile, the rebels pushed into the center of the country and tried to advance towards the capital Bamako, after the French troops carried out air strikes against the extremist fighters. Germany strongly supports the Mali intervention and is providing logistical help, but will not sent combat troops, therefore two transport planes by transall (type C-160 ESS) were launched to Mali a few days ago. The foreign minister Guido Westerwelle said that Germany behaves internationally exemplarily. All parties of the the German “Bundestag” are supporting the French fight against the extremists except the left party (Die Linke).
Great Britain has promised to raise the number of soldiers involved to 330, but the UK foreign minister said, that they won’t fight in the combat mission, they should only help with the training of Malian troops.

Atrocities of the terrorists

The terrorists committed inhuman deeds on Mali’s population. They established Islamic law – which is incredible strict and inhuman –  in many cities and made their own rules. Many people were hurt by them because of allegations, which seemed to were wrong. Two examples: The Islamists accused one man to have stolen a mattress of a bed. He negated this but in the end they cut off his right hand. Another young woman was whipped in jail by many male extremists because she was not wearing her bandanna, the headscarf of the Muslim women. These actions could remind someone of the Afghan conflict or the Syrian civil war, generally of all wars. But it is not a classical war, it’s more like banishment done by terrorist groups that want to recruit fighters who fight against the western World.

Reconquest of the French and Malian soldiers

The French operation destroyed the Islamists training camps and the extremists logistic bases.
On January 28, the troops retook Timbuktu, one of the largest cities. Maybe it is the last involvement of the troops in this conflict. Many cheering Malian people waited on the streets to greet the soldiers. One day before, Malian and French troops arrived in Gao, the largest city in northern Mali. In Timbuktu, the military is still looking for hidden terrorists and ammunition dumps. Many hidden fighters are suspected in Timbuktu but especially its surroundings and also in other Malian cities. For now, the troops are controlling the situation of the important locations and the extremists are retreating.
Mali’s interim president Dioncounda Traore promised free and fair elections until July in the north, where all this fighting occur. On January 31, Traore said he was open to lead a discussion with an autonomy-seeking Tuareg group called MNLA if they drop any claim for independence, but refused to negotiate with al Qaeda-linked Islamist insurgents.
Good progress took place, and Mali has earned this liberation of the radical Islamists after civil war and other conflicts.

sources: Reuters, New York Times, DW, dapd

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