#AceNewsServices – October 08 – At least one United Nations peace-keeper was killed in a rocket attack on a joint UN-French military base in the northern Malian town of Kidal on Tuesday, a spokesman for the UN mission said.
Olivier Salgado, a spokesman for the UN force, known as MINUSMA, said between six and eight rockets had been fired at the camp.
“One MINUSMA soldier was killed in the attack,” Salgado said, without giving details on the nationality of the peacekeeper. There were no initial reports of casualties among the French forces from the rocket fire.
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack, but Islamist militants operating in Mali’s vast desert north have stepped up attacks on foreign forces in recent weeks. Nine UN peacekeepers were killed in an ambush last Friday.
UN peacekeepers were deployed across northern Mali in an effort to secure the country after separatists and Islamist forces took advantage of a power vacuum created by a coup in the capital in 2012 to seize the north.
The Islamists were scattered by French forces early last year and elections have since been held. But there has been a marked increase in attacks in recent months as France moved its focus away from Mali towards a regional security mission.
Source: (FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
#AceWorldNews – ALGIERS – July 27 – According to latest information that either 116 or 118 people on board the Air Algerie flight AH5017 which crashed in the restive northern Mali, at least 33 French military personnel including three senior intelligence officials and a Lebanese Hezbollah leader were present, it has emerged reported IBTimes
Even as the Algerian authorities have asserted that the real cause of the crash could be established only after a thorough investigation, they have not ruled out a terror attack either.
The exact number of people present in the aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas-83, is still unclear – whether it was 116 or 118.
But the local daily Echorouk, citing sources, said there were French troops on board.
There were at least 19 Lebanese passengers and some of them were dual citizens, including an alleged senior Hezbollah figure, who was disguised as a businessman.
A team of Lebanese experts is also on its way to Mali to assist the ongoing investigation.
Meanwhile, militants from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA), locally known as Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa, are said to be stationed near the crash site, which is not far from their stronghold.
The al-Qaeda-inspired outfit is believed to be holding an arsenal of missiles in its possession which were smuggled from Libya.
However, experts have firmly ruled out any ground-to-air attack that brought down the plane.
But speculation over a criminal incident linked to explosives inside the Burkina Faso-Algiers flight has also surfaced.
"We rule out — and have from the start — any ground strike," French junior transport minister Frédéric Cuvillier told France Two television.
#AceWorldNews – FRANCE (Paris) – July 19 – French President Francois Hollande on Friday promoted a new military operation being rolled out in West Africa to take on a multi-faceted menace from Islamist groups that he warned threatened France’s interests and citizens reported Reuters.
The military operation succeeded in scattering the Islamist groups in Mali, and Paris is in the process of reorganising its deployment in the region, with its 1,700 soldiers in Mali being folded into a broader counter-terrorism force.
Under the new plan, some 3,000 French troops will now operate out of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad – countries straddling the vast arid Sahel band – with the aim of stamping out an Islamist threat across the region.
“There are threats, notably from Libya. Military hardware has accumulated there, and without a doubt, terrorists are seeking refuge there,” Hollande said in Niger during a three-day trip that will also take him to Ivory Coast and Chad.
“We have, therefore, decided to put in place structures and measures that will allow us to confront this threat of terrorism in the Sahel,” he said.
#AceNewsServices says `Entente Lethal: Britain, France to sign military drone development deal’ according to RT.
Edited time: January 30, 2014 15:00
The unmanned Euro Hawk plane (AFP/DPA)
President Francois Hollande will arrive in Britain on Friday for a summit with David Cameron at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. The two leaders, flanked by their foreign, defense, and energy ministers, are set to ink multiple deals for developing combat drones, missile systems and submarines. There are also plans to establish a joint expeditionary force which will be applicable for a wide range of scenarios, including high intensity operations.
Friday’s summit stems from the Lancaster House Treaties of 2010, in which Cameron and then–French President Nickolas Sarkozy agreed on a raft of measures in defense and security cooperation.
The UK currently operates its unmanned aerial vehicle program out of the United States due to restrictions for using the craft in European airspace. France, meanwhile, has bought drones from US-based General Atomics for its year-long military operation in Mali.
A Downing Street source told The Independent it is clear that unmanned combat systems such as drones are “where defense technology was going.” He added that UAVs are an “essential piece of kit” for both British and French forces.
Political Analyst Chris Bambery told RT that France and Britain’s decision to jointly ramp up their drone capabilities was seemingly inevitable given their place in the geopolitical order.
“Where the Americans go, the British and French need to follow, because [they] are essentially the American attack dogs in Europe. They’re the only two European powers who have the military capability that the Americans can sometimes use. If the Americans are investing in drones, inevitably, Britain and France is going to do the same.”
Last year, Britain and France agreed to launch a study into the feasibility of jointly developing drone technologies. Friday’s agreement is expected to push things forward, though the unmanned vehicles will not begin rolling out for at least three years.
British firm BAE Systems, Europe’s biggest defence company, is already working with France’s Dassault Aviation, the maker of French Rafale fighter jets, on drone development. Rolls Royce is also expected to be involved in the project.
Last month, all 28 EU member states agreed to cooperate on building surveillance drones to compete with US- and Israeli-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that now dominate the skies.
The drones are expected to be produced after 2020.
- Civilian future of UAVs: US to test commercial drones(voiceofrussia.com)
- Britain, France to sign military drone development deal(deadcitizensrightssociety.wordpress.com)
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced today they are teaming up for a trip to the Sahel next week to address pressing issues in the vast African region such as pervasive poverty, food insecurity and conflict.
“The Sahel is one of the most impoverished and fragile places on the planet,” said Mr. Ban in a “http://www.un.org/sg/offthecuff/index.asp?nid=3155” joint press conference in New York. “We are going together to listen and act. We are convinced the cycle of crises in the Sahel can be broken. The region can move from fragility to sustainability.”
Earlier this year, Mr. Ban and Mr. Kim travelled together to Africa’s long troubled Great Lakes region in support of a new peace framework agreed by leaders there. It was the first joint visit by a UN Secretary-General and a President of the World Bank. The new trip seeks to build on joint efforts, foster international support, and spotlight the challenges currently facing the Sahel.
“Our message on this critical visit and around the world is that peace and development must go hand-in-hand,” Mr. Ban said. “At this time last year, Mali was in crisis. Since then, our collective efforts have helped not only improve the political and security situation in Mali but also address some of the broader challenges in the Sahel. The time is ripe to build on these gains.”
The Sahel has suffered three major droughts in less than a decade. More than 11 million people are at risk of hunger and 5 million children under five are at risk of acute malnutrition. In addition, political instability and unconstitutional changes in Governments have had significant economic and social consequences in the region and terrorist acts, as well as organized crime, have threatened the region’s stability.
“These challenges cannot be overcome by any Government or organization alone,” Mr. Ban said. “The issues are connected and we need an approach that connects our efforts.”
“Many of these countries have chronically low economic growth which lags behind the urgent need for job creation,” Mr. Kim told reporters via teleconference from Washington D.C. “We need to work together so that people of the Sahel can have peace and development.”
He stressed that the World Bank’s new approach to the Sahel will entail working side by side with the region’s Governments, the UN and other development partners and will promote greater stability, resilience and sustainable development in the five core countries of the region: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
“Our aim is to address the root causes of poverty, conflict and helplessness. As a part of this new approach, the World Bank will mobilize substantial public and private sources in support. We’ll help strengthen social safety nets for people, lower the cost of energy and increase support for irrigation and pastoralism, as well transform the state of agriculture in the region,” Mr. Kim said.
The Sahel stretches from Mauritania to Eritrea, including Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan, a belt dividing the Sahara desert and the savannahs to the south. The joint visit will start from Mali and continue to Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.
Mr. Ban and Mr. Kim will be joined by Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy to the region, Romano Prodi, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka, and Commissioner for Development of the European Union Andris Piebalgs.
Courtesy of :UN News Room
- Billions of dollars for Sahel region in Africa announced (worldbulletin.net)
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim to Make Joint Visit to Africa’s Sahel Region (weinformers.net)
- Ban pleads for women’s rights to curb Sahel fertility (modernghana.com)
- UN, World Bank chiefs on Sahel anti-poverty mission (modernghana.com)
- EU, World Bank pledge over $8 bn in fresh aid for Sahel (modernghana.com)
- UN, EU pledge $8.25 billion to Africa’s Sahel (boston.com)