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.

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.


France won't delay Mali troop reductions

06 November 2013, 13:09

Paris/Bamako - France will stick to the timetable for its troop withdrawal from Mali despite a resurgence in violence and the killing of two French journalists at the weekend, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday.

France, which sent soldiers to its former colony in January to combat militants who had taken over large swathes of the country, has already delayed by two months plans to reduce troop numbers to 1 000, from 3 200, which was originally scheduled for the end of the year.

Fabius, speaking on RFI radio, confirmed the French army had redeployed 150 soldiers from the south to Kidal, the Tuareg rebel stronghold in the north, where instability has grown in recent months and where the journalists were abducted.

"President [Hollande] immediately decided to strengthen our presence in Kidal, but that does not put into question the calendar and the reduction of French forces," Fabius said.

The strength of Malian forces and the UN peacekeeping troops would also be increased, he said.

France launched air strikes and sent thousands of soldiers into Mali in January to drive back al-Qaeda-linked rebels it said could turn Mali into a base for militant attacks.

Islamists scattered during the French assault and a presidential election was held in August that brought Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to power.

Legislative elections are due on 24 November, but the journalists' deaths follow a string of attacks in the desert zone of northern Mali.


Last month Malian and international forces launched a big operation to keep pressure on Islamist groups.

Although Malian, UN and French troops are stationed in Kidal, none are heavily deployed. The Malian army's contingent is generally symbolic and soldiers are confined to their base.

About 200 UN peacekeepers (MINUSMA) are officially in control of security and France also has about 200 troops, though their operations in the region have focused on the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains to the north, which served for years as a hide-out for militants.

French and Malian forces are hunting the killers of the journalists and questioning suspects. Fabius suggested Paris believed Islamist militants were behind the attack.

"We are following all leads," Fabius told parliament on Tuesday. "What the government wants is that those who committed this crime are tracked down, caught and punished."

A team of seven French investigators arrived in Mali on Tuesday and had started taking fingerprints from the car left abandoned where the journalists were killed, a French police source said.

"What I can tell you is that the investigation is moving forward, but I can't tell you who has been arrested or how many people," Kidal governor Adama Kamissoko told Reuters.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Why do men choose second wives?

Why do men choose to have second wives?

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
Udada women's festival begins in ...

The Udada women's festival has arrived in Nairobi.

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
WATCH: Kaka Sungura arrested in t...

Was Kaka Sungura arrested in town?

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Ababu chased by rowdy youth durin...

Ababu Namwamba was chased off by rowdy youth in a rally, after being accused of supporting the Jubilee Party. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Has Uhuru done enough for Kenyan ...

Has President Uhuru Kenyatta done enough to lift the lives of Kenyan youth? Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
COMMENT: Peter Kenneth adds no va...

Peter Kenneth adds no value to the Jubilee Party's 2017 bid, experts argue. Read more...