(PARIS) RSF REPORT: French “cities campaign” in support of reporter held hostage in Mali after he was reporting in city of Gao #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Oct.09: Following the City of Paris, which began displaying a large photo of Dubois over the entrance to the 10th arrondissement town hall in July, the city of Bayeux, in Normandy, unfurled a banner in support of this French journalist earlier this week. Bayeux was chosen to start this new campaign because it was the first French city to be liberated in 1944 and is currently hosting a week of events that accompany the Bayeux Calvados-Normandy Award for war correspondents….

#AceDailyNews according to an RSF Report: The aim of this “cities campaign” is to show solidarity with Dubois, who is currently the only French citizen held hostage anywhere in the world. A correspondent for Libération, Le Point and Jeune Afrique, he was abducted while out reporting in the city of Gao, in northeastern Mali, on 8 April.

Eleven other cities – Marseille, Lyon, Nice, Nantes, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Rennes, Reims, Pau, Fort-de-France and La Rochelle – will follow suit tomorrow, six months to the day after Dubois was taken hostage.

“Mobilising all these cities across the country – including Marseille where part of Olivier’s family lives, and Fort-de-France in Martinique where he is from – sends a powerful message of support and solidarity with this journalist, who was taken hostage while doing his job,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “We will continue to press tirelessly for Olivier to be freed so that he can go back to keeping us informed. And we take this opportunity to thank all those who are working for his release.”

In a short video released on social media on the night of 4 May, nearly a month after his abduction, Dubois was seen confirming that he had been abducted by the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (JNIM), a coalition of armed Islamist groups affiliated to Al-Qaeda. Neither his abductors nor the Malian or French authorities have provided any further news about him since then.

RSF organised an earlier show of support for Dubois in Place de la République in Paris on 8 June, the day he completed his second month in captivity. Those attending included six journalists who have been held hostage in the past – Philippe Rochot (in Lebanon in 1986), Jean-Jacques Le Garrec (Philippines in 2000), Georges Malbrunot (Iraq in 2004),  Florence Aubenas (Iraq in 2005), Roméo Langlois (Colombia in 2012) and Edouard Elias (Syria in 2013 and 2014).

On 6 August, Dubois’ 47th birthday, RSF and the news media he works for posted a video message of support on social media. 

Mali is ranked 99th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index.

#AceNewsDesk report ………….Published: Oct.09: 2021:

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#france, #mali, #paris

(NIGER) JUST IN: Jihadist Attack Report: A fresh attack in western Niger near the border with volatile Mali has left at least 19 civilians dead, the government said on Thursday #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.02: The attack took place on Wednesday in the village of Deye Koukou in the Banibangou area, where 14 civilians were killed Sunday, it said…..

#AceDailyNews says a jihadist raid on village has killed at least 19 Civilians in a new attack in Niger,” acording to AFP, July 30, 2021:

Three others were wounded and one was missing.

A local official earlier told AFP that 18 people had been killed in the raid.

The latest attack takes to 33 the number of civilians killed in the region in less than a week.

Banibangou falls inside what is known as the three-borders region between Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali, which for years has been the scene of bloody attacks by jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group….

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#jihadist, #mali, #niger

(MALI) JUST IN: Chinese Embassy issues ‘Security Alert’ on Saturday as ‘Three Chinese Nationals Kidnapped’ by gunmen #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – July.19: The Chinese Embassy in Mali said in a notice on Saturday that as Eid al-Adha Day approaches, the security situation in Mali has become more complicated. Robberies and attacks are frequent in border areas especially those with Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

#AceDailyNews says that the notice and the kidnap, which came three days after the bus blast in Pakistan that killed nine Chinese nationals on July 14, put further spotlight on the security situation of Chinese nationals and enterprises in foreign countries.

By Global Times

Photo taken on Aug. 21, 2020, shows normal traffic after Mali reopened land and air borders in Bamako, capital of Mali. Photo:Xinhua
Global Times

Photo taken on Aug. 21, 2020, shows normal traffic after Mali reopened land and air borders in Bamako, capital of Mali. Photo:XinhuaThe Chinese Embassy in Mali warned Chinese citizens and enterprises in the country to be on the alert as three Chinese nationals were kidnapped in a latest attack in war-torn southwest Mali on Saturday.

Chinese citizens and enterprises in Mali should enhance their safety awareness, strictly abide by local laws, regulations and customs and ensure personal and property safety, the embassy said. 

The embassy statement did not specifically mention the attack. 

The AFP reported that an attack occurred at a construction site and three Chinese nationals and two Mauritanians were kidnapped. 

The bus blast in Pakistan on July 14 was confirmed to be a terrorist attack, in which nine Chinese and four Pakistanis were killed. 

All the victims worked at the China-invested Dasu hydropower project. A joint team sent to investigate the attack has asked Pakistan to tighten up their security measures, to ensure the safety of all Chinese employees in the country.

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: July.19: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#burkina-faso, #chinese, #gunmen, #mali

(MALI) JUST IN: A car bomb in northern Mali has wounded 15 UN peacekeepers, the UN said on Friday, in the latest attack in the war-torn Sahel state #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.26: However, a member of the German parliament’s defense committee, who requested anonymity, told AFP that all the wounded were German. Twelve were seriously injured, the MP said:

MALI: Car bomb wounds 15-UN peacekeepers in Bamako they said on Twitter that an evacuation was under way that struck a temporary base near Tarkint, in the lawless north of the country. It didn’t provide further details and the presence of thousands of French and UN troops, the conflict has engulfed the center of the country and spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger: Published: June 25, 2021 16:43

Arab News

On Monday, six French soldiers and four civilians were wounded when a car bomb detonated near a French armored car in central Mali.

About 13,000 troops from several nations are deployed in the UN’s MINUSMA peacekeeping mission across the vast semi-arid country: Mali is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that erupted in 2012 and which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives:

A security official, who declined to be identified, told AFP that the forward operating base attacked on Friday was only set up the previous day, after a land mine damaged a UN vehicle in the area: The peacekeepers set up the temporary base in order to remove the damaged vehicle, the security official said:

#AceNewsDEsk report ………Published: Jun.26: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#car-bomb, #mali, #united-nations

(FRANCE) JUST IN: Operation Barhane halted its joint military operations with Mali over last week’s coup in the West African country #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.04: French forces have been supporting troops from Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso to fight militants in the Sahel region:

FRANCE: Suspends military ties with Mali over coup and said the suspension would continue until it received guarantees about a return to civilian rule according to Frank Gardner: Critical stage for fight against jihadis in West Africa

12 hours ago

Soldiers of France's Barkhane mission patrol in In-Tillit in 2017 in Mali
French troops are part of Operation Barkhane against militants in the Sahel

On 25 May Mali’s military strongman, Col Assimi Goïta, ousted the country’s civilian president and prime minister:

This week the West African grouping Ecowas and the African Union (AU) suspended Mali from their bodies. 

On Thursday France’s armed forces ministry said that both Ecowas and the AU had set “the framework for the political transition in Mali”. 

It added: “While awaiting these guarantees, France has decided to suspend, as a temporary measure, joint military operations with Malian forces.” 

French troops will continue to operate there independently.

What is happening in Mali?

Coup leader Colonel Assimi Goïta was named transitional president by the constitutional court last Friday – two days after he declared himself the interim leader. 

He defended the removal of President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane as necessary because they had failed in their duties and were seeking to sabotage the country’s transition.

Soldiers arrested and detained the two men after a cabinet reshuffle that Col Goïta said he was not consulted about.

He also led the coup last August, which saw the elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta forced out of office.

Col Goïta has now promised that a new prime minister will be appointed within days, and that elections will still go ahead next year as planned.

Why is Mali so unstable?

Mali is a vast, landlocked former French colony, and large areas are poor and underdeveloped.

A coup in 2012 led to militant Islamists exploiting the chaos and seizing the north of the country. 

French troops helped regain territory, but attacks have continued as the insurgents have capitalised on the persistent political instability in the region.

This has all led to public confidence waning over the army leaders’ ability to tackle the Islamist insurgency that has spilled into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Jun.04: 2021:

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#burkina-faso, #chad, #coup, #france, #mali, #mauritania, #sahel

(LONDON) MOD REPORT: UK troops deployed to Mali as part of the UN’s peacekeeping mission have seized a cache of weapons hidden by suspected #Daesh terrorists who had been threatening local communities #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.18: The operation, which was the first of its kind by UN forces in Mali, is a clear demonstration of how British peacekeepers have been making an impact in the UN’s mission to protect civilians during their first six months in the country.

LONDON: UK troops seize Daesh arms cache in Mali peacekeeping operation: ‘British peacekeepers seized AK47s, ammunition, fuel and radios hidden by a jihadist cell intimidating civilians, after conducting a search in a sandstorm’

The British force launched the Mission-approved “cordon and search” operation in early May in a village close to the border with Niger, after receiving intelligence about violent extremists operating in the area. The extremists had been intimidating local communities, extorting money and assaulting people who refused to comply with their demands, meaning UK forces were able to respond to protect them under the UN’s peacekeeping mandate.

Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey said:

This was the first operation of its kind by UN forces in Mali, demonstrating how UK personnel have made a significant contribution to the mission during their first six months in the country.

Removing the weapons and disrupting the terrorist operation will make a real difference to the local community and importantly the intelligence collected will help develop our understanding and help to prevent the threat from armed groups in the future.

The UK Task Group provides the UN with a highly specialised long-range reconnaissance capability, conducting patrols in remote areas, gathering intelligence and engaging with the local population to help the UN understand and respond to threats and fulfil its mandate to protect civilians.

Acting on information they had gathered, around 100 soldiers from the Light Dragoons and Royal Anglian Regiment, supported by a specialist Royal Engineer search team, were cleared by UN HQ to move into the village and search several buildings of interest. The operation took place during incredibly challenging conditions, including a sandstorm that reduced visibility to 30m, over 50C heat and soldiers carrying up to 45kg of equipment.

Upon searching the area, they found a hidden cache of terrorist material, including AK47 rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, along with camouflage clothing, radios, mobile phones and hundreds of litres of fuel. The weapons and intelligence collected were then passed to the UN Mine Action Service, UN Police, and Malian authorities, who will use the information gathered and then destroy the materials.

A cell of suspected fighters from Daesh-affiliated group Islamic State in the Greater Sahel (ISGS) fled by swimming across the River Niger before the peacekeepers arrived, leaving behind what they would consider valuable resources.

Clothing including camouflaged jackets as well as AK47 magazines and radios are laid out after being found in the search.
Camouflage clothing, AK47 magazines and radios found in the search (MoD Crown Copyright)

Lieutenant Colonel Tom Robinson, Commanding Officer of the Light Dragoons, said:

This operation is a tangible example of how UK soldiers, as part of the UN Force, are making a real difference to protect the people of Mali who are living in one of the most vulnerable regions in the world.

Using intelligence gathered during our patrols, we focussed on where terrorist groups were intimidating local people and were then able to find and seize the weapons and supplies, disrupting their harmful influence on local communities and gathering more information that will help interrupt further extremist activity.

The operation is the first targeted “cordon and search” operation, acting on intelligence proactively gathered, to be carried out by UN forces in Mali. It demonstrates how the UN mission to Mali (MINUSMA) is working to protect civilians, support Malian authorities to maintain security and protect UN personnel from threats posed by terrorists.

Swedish Colonel Markus Hook, Commanding Officer of the UN Mission’s Mobile Task Force, of which the UK troops are a part, said:

This Cordon and Search Operation was the first of its kind in a long period of time for MINUSMA.

It was based on information which suggested that a specific location within a village was being used for weapon storage by non-compliant armed groups which were harassing the local population.

The operation was a direct and timely response to intelligence, and it serves as a telling example of how we are proactively fulfilling our mandate to protect civilians.

The 300-strong UK Task Group deployed to Mali in December 2020 to support the UN mission, which is made up of over 13,000 peacekeepers from 56 different countries and works to support peace efforts, encourage security sector reform, protect civilians and promote human rights.

The Sahel is one of Africa’s poorest and most fragile regions. It is marked by chronic poverty, instability, high levels of gender inequality, and is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Terrorist violence and conflict have been sharply on the rise in recent years.

The UK is one of the largest humanitarian donors to the Sahel. In 2020 the UK gave £14.65 million in humanitarian aid to Mali and is currently in the process of increasing the size of the UK embassy to reinforce our diplomatic strength in the country.

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: May.18: 2021:

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#daesh, #london, #mali, #mod

(MALI, West Africa.) LATEST: According to SITE #IslamicState claim responsibility for ther deaths of at least 137 after the deadliest attack in recent memory as Niger citizens mourns #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.24: #IslamicState has claimed responsibility for an attack which killed 33 soldiers in Mali, in a clear illustration of Africa’s rising terror threat:

Islamic State jihadis claim responsibility for jihad massacre that killed 33: “According to a France24 journalist Wassim Nasir tweeted: “#Mali the #EI claims the attack on #Tessit#Ansongo “33 dead” in the area of the three borders.”

The attack, which happend on March 15, involved 100 suspected Islamic extremists on motorcycles which ambushed the Malian military convoy in the country’s volatile north, killing at least 33 people in the deadliest attack since the overthrow of the country’s president in a coup last year” https://t.me/reuters_news_agency/69257
Reuters Wire News, [Mar 23, 2021 at 6:28 PM]

“ISIS terror strikes: Militant group claims responsibility for massacre in Mali – 33 dead,” by Ciaran McGrath, Express, March 21, 2021 (thanks to the Geller Report):

Fourteen other people were hurt in the attack near the town, which is about 37 miles southeast of Ansongo in the Gao region, according to a military statement.

Up to now no group had claimed it carried out the attack, but Islamic extremists with links to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group operate in the region.

Islamic State said in a statement that its fighters captured three vehicles as well as weapons and ammunition, according to SITE….

Flags flew at half-staff and Koranic verses played on state media on Tuesday as Niger began observing three days of national mourning for the 137 victims of coordinated raids on villages in the southwest.

The killings on Sunday represented Niger’s worst civilian carnage in recent memory, surpassing an attack by suspected militants in January that killed at least 100 villagers and another last week that killed at least 58.

The scale of the violence this year has called into question claims of progress in the fight against Islamist militants by governments in West Africa’s Sahel region and former colonial power France, which has 5,000 troops there to support them.

A security source blamed Sunday’s attacks, which were carried out by men on motorbikes in the remote Tahoua region near the border with Mali, on the local Islamic State affiliate. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for previous raids against security forces and French aid workers.

Niger only finished a period of mourning for the previous attacks on Friday.

The rising death toll appears to be the result of the Islamists inserting themselves into ethnic conflicts between rival farming and herding communities, said Harouna Abarchi, a civil society activist who leads peace initiatives in the area.

The militants, largely drawn from the Fulani herding community, have targeted civilians in retaliation for killings of Fulanis by self-defence militias formed by the farmers.

“It’s a fragile zone that has seen inter-communal conflicts in the past,” Abarchi said. “They are now going after civilians, which … could set the zone on fire.”

The security crisis will land at the feet of President-elect Mohamed Bazoum, who takes office next week, succeeding Mahamadou Issoufou.

Abou Oumarou, a retired colonel and former regional governor, said the repeated attacks raised questions about the military’s response.

“How is it that 200 people can move around on motorcycles and no one is aware?” he said. “These forces need to surround these zones so that we know when there is a massive movement.”

The government said it is investigating the attacks.

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#mali, #niger

SEA: ‘ Rise of the Child Soldiers of Pakistan ‘

#AceNewsServices – PAKISTAN – October 11 – The phenomenon of “child soldiers” is not new to this globe. From the far western shores of Americas, to Africa and Asia, the world continues to witness the rise of soldiers that are mere children

' Child Soldiers of Pakistan '

‘ Child Soldiers of Pakistan ‘

The world is stunned beyond limits to see that humanity has fallen to this level in the exploitation of young innocent children as child recruits for fundamentalist agendas.

The use of child soldiers has spread to almost all the global armed conflict. Though an exact number is impossible to define, thousands of child soldiers are illegally serving in armed conflict around the world.

According to Do Something Org, many countries are allegedly reported on use of under-age soldiers, these include Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Mali, Pakistan, Thailand, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and more.

 I am sure many are already geared up with the anti-Pakistani stereotypes that deem that whole of Pakistan is a terrorist country and on this list,  I get this hatred towards Pakistan is a global trend but not many of you know the dynamics of child militia here. And am taking this opportunity to shed some light on various important areas.

Pakistan|Trending Local Child Soldiers issue

The growing phenomenon of child militants in Pakistan is a horrific reality, one mirrored in various conflicts throughout history. Young innocent children are targeted because they can be easily brain washed by militant groups.

The cycle of poverty, large family size and economic hardships are factors that leave vulnerable parents little choice but to send children in local madrassas as they are free of cost.   The constitution Article 25-A says the State shall provide free and compulsory education to children between ages of 5 to 16. However that’s not being followed as millions of children are out of school and our literary rate is appalling low at 48%.

"Madrasa" is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious.

“Madrasa” is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious.

Most people have no choice but to send their children to religious schools or madrassas as. Moreover, there are huge discrepancies because education in Pakistan is heavily influenced by religion and in recent times Wahabi agendas.

The main source of funding for these madrasa groups is coming from Saudi Arabia. In fact, this whole phenomenon that we are confronting, which Al Qaeda is a part of, is very closely associated with Saudi Arabia’s financial and religious projects for the Muslim world as a whole. Its in greater interests to keep Pakistani children stuck into poverty cycles as they serve a greater agenda, shame on Pakistani government for colluding against its own.

Local madrassas cater Pakistani children as well as international students who avail the lucrative scholarship fundings  from Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia. 

However coming back to Pakistan, the different militant groups including TTP, LeT and so on have been able to harness the young Pakistani children in scores through enticing tactics.

Local Militant Recruitment Mechanism

The militant have sinister agendas however on the forefront they are able to cajole and manipulate young children by reminding them the sufferings of the Muslim world and that they have to play a role in eradication of misery; through this jihad.

"Madrasa" is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious.

“Madrasa” is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious.

Upon meeting some under-age boy militants in Swat, I found out that for years they have attended the madrassas whose lecturers and mentors taught them things like ” The Pakistan Army is the ally of the Western capitalist world; they the  imperialists are all the enemies of Islam. The fight against them is justified; they are apostates, the friends of the infidels.”

The second message drummed into them is one which the world is facing today. The increasing intolerance towards Muslims and followers of faith Islam within their own regions and in the western world. Sadly this is capitalized upon very well by the militant groups. The young recruits are taught that they have to stand up against the helplessness of Muslim women, daughters and sisters that are getting dishonored by non-Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine etc.

They also watch videos purportedly showing the killing of Muslims by non-Muslims in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Instructors tell them that a war is being waged against Islam.

' Child Soldiers Recruited by Saudi Arabia as Terrorists as young as five '

‘ Child Soldiers Recruited by Saudi Arabia as Terrorists as young as five ‘

That the western world is at war with Islam has given a trump card to Pakistan’s militants for this sort of radical enticement of vulnerable children.

These main themes in lectures are taught to in both the senior recruits camps (ages 16 and older) and junior ones (ages 7 to 15), all are centered on vengeance and the need to do something for the wronged Muslims.The children are completely isolated from the normal outside world.

The young would-be suicide bombers are also persuaded by the promise of Paradise. This is, I repeat a huge blasphemy against the real teachings for if have to view from Islamic point of view; suicide is strictly forbidden along with the killing of innocent persons. Allah, God is the author of life that has granted us the gift of life and we mere humans don’t have the authority to take it.

This using of innocent children by militancy has to stop now. But. The inability of the Pakistan army to meet internal security challenges effectively is a particularly worrying factor. Three generations of Pakistani children are suffering due to the impact of this futile jihadi indoctrination.

It is time to seriously put an end to this madness, before it consumes us within the dark abysses of hatred and destruction.I am so exhausted to waking up in the mornings with the first thought in mind,What the hell happened Pakistan? And then trying to fix it some how in my way.

Though, we can’t bring back the already dead Pakistani children militants and can hardly ease the misery of the grieving parents, it is time for Pakistan to asses the complex root causes behind this phenomenon and design solutions for protection of children from becoming part of militancy.

Say No To Use of Child Soldiers. NOW. Download PDF 

Source:

SEA: Related News: DO Something NOW 

Pakistan|Child Soldiers A Growing Asset For Radicals

#SEAN2014

#aceguestnews, #afghanistan, #africa, #americas, #asia, #child-soldiers, #children, #columbia, #india, #iraq, #israel, #mali, #news-and-views, #pakistan, #sudan, #syria, #thailand, #yemen

MALI: ‘ United Nations Peace-Keeper Killed in Rocket Attack on Joint UN-French Military Base ‘

#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)

#ANS2014

#france, #islamist, #mali, #minusma, #peacekeeper, #un

AIR ALGERIE AH5017: ' Hezbollah Leader and French Military Were On-Board at Time of Crash '

#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.

#ANS2014

#algiers, #burkina-faso, #france, #hezbollah, #mali, #somalia

‘ Francois Hollande Promotes New Military Operation Being Rolled-Out in West Africa ‘

Regions of Burkina Faso.

Regions of Burkina Faso. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#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. 

France led a military intervention in its former colony Mali last year, halting the advance of al Qaeda-linked fighters who had seized control of the northern two-thirds of the country in 2012.

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.

#ANS2014

 

#burkina-faso, #chad, #france, #francois-hollande, #ivory-coast, #mali, #niger, #sahel, #west-africa

#UK & #France : “Prepare to `Sign Drone Deal’ to `Free Themselves’ from the US Manufacturer’s”

#AceNewsServices says `Entente Lethal: Britain, France to sign military drone development deal’ according to RT.

Published time: January 30, 2014 14:05
Edited time: January 30, 2014 15:00
The unmanned Euro Hawk plane (AFP/DPA)

The unmanned Euro Hawk plane (AFP/DPA)

Britain and France are set to develop a new generation of armed drones which will free them of their dependence on US-manufactured unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

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 thenFrench 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.

 

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More than 11 Million People are at Risk of Hunger and 5 Million Children under Five are at Risk of Acute Malnutrition

Destructive root harvesting for traditional me...

Destructive root harvesting for traditional medicine. In the Sahel sub-Saharan savanna region, near Fada N’Gourma, Burkina Faso. Français : Récolte des racines par arrachage, pour les besoins de la médecine traditionnelle. Image prise près de Fada N’Gourma, au Burkina Faso. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.”

Huts in the village of Dourtenga, departement ...

Huts in the village of Dourtenga, departement of Dourtenga, province of Koulpélogo in Burkina Faso (West Africa). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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  

 

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