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December 9, 2013
Across the desert, the wind combs the sand into smooth ripples that roll out evenly for miles. So when a hole is dug, you see it immediately. The sand looks agitated. Its pattern is disturbed. That’s how you know where the bodies are buried. Close to three dozen people in northern Mali disappeared earlier this year, killed or taken away by the country’s military, according to human rights groups. The victims were caught in a backlash against Arabs and Tuaregs, desert people who form a small and shrinking ethnic minority in Mali. As the West Africa bureau chief for The Associated Press, I wanted to know what had happened to them.
An AP reporter beautifully chronicles their trip to hunt down where conflict killings were buried in Mali. 
9:00 // 10 months ago
March 2, 2013
On Saturday, March 2, at noon, Chadian armed forces operating in northern Mali completely destroyed a terrorist base. …The toll included several dead terrorists, including their leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
A statement from the Chadian armed forces • Announcing the killing of Mokhtar Belmokhtar, an al-Qaeda commander who claimed responsibility for masterminding a lethal hostage situation at an Algerian gas plant in January. Chad’s President Idriss Deby also announced Friday that his forces had killed Adelhamid Abou Zeid, another prominent al-Qaeda commander, in the same area as the attack that killed Belmokhtar. The French, who launched jet strikes on mountain regions in Northern Mali believed to house bases for Islamic militants, have not yet confirmed the deaths of either Belmokhtar or Abou Zeid. source
20:26 // 1 year ago
February 23, 2013
This is the final phase of the process since it is in that massif [the Ifoghas mountains] that AQIM forces have probably regrouped. Our Chadian friends launched an attack yesterday which was very harsh with significant loss of life. I want to praise what the Chadians are doing.
French President Francois Hollande • Speaking on his nation’s military collaboration, along with African forces, against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a militant group in Mali now waging a weakening insurgency in the country’s far north. The group had claimed control of broad swaths of northern Mali in 2012, causing the government to request international military help, which Hollande and France (Mali was a French colony until 1960) have provided in the form of 4,000 soldiers deployed. And lest you think there’s a military operation of this sort the United States isn’t involved in, predator drones have been offered to the effort as well, which U.S. officials claim will be used to glean deployment information. source
20:29 // 1 year ago
February 21, 2013
humanrightswatch:

Mali: Prosecute Soldiers for Abuses
The Malian government should urgently investigate and prosecute soldiers responsible for torture, summary executions, and enforced disappearances of suspected Islamist rebels and alleged collaborators since the fighting in northern Mali resumed in January 2013, Human Rights Watch said today. Mali’s international partners should bolster accountability efforts and civilian protection in the north to help prevent further abuses.
© 2013 Human Rights Watch

Update on the Mali situation. We hope the government takes HRW’s heed.

humanrightswatch:

Mali: Prosecute Soldiers for Abuses

The Malian government should urgently investigate and prosecute soldiers responsible for torture, summary executions, and enforced disappearances of suspected Islamist rebels and alleged collaborators since the fighting in northern Mali resumed in January 2013, Human Rights Watch said today. Mali’s international partners should bolster accountability efforts and civilian protection in the north to help prevent further abuses.

© 2013 Human Rights Watch

Update on the Mali situation. We hope the government takes HRW’s heed.

10:08 // 1 year ago
February 19, 2013

An update on two drastically under-covered wars across the globe

  • 20 militant rebels and a single French soldier were killed in Mali on Tuesday after opposition forces fired on a parachute regiment of roughly 150 soldiers. France is currently expected to withdraw its roughly 4,000 troops from Mali in May, when coalition forces from a number of African nations will take the lead in defending Mali’s existing government from Islamist rebels. source
  • 20 civilians were killed in Aleppo on Tuesday, according to rebel forces, after the Syrian government fired a “Scud-type” missile into residential district . Children are reportedly among the victims, and 25 people remain missing at this time. Word of the attacks comes on the same day as confirmation that Russian officials won’t back efforts to charge Syrian leaders with war crimes. source
17:52 // 1 year ago
February 2, 2013
I just want to say thank you from myself and the people of Mali - Vive la France! I hope Francois Hollande continues to help us and that that we can stay free like this.
Timbuktu resident Bena Abdel Kadir •  Praising France and President Francois Hollande for approving military engagement in Mali, where the French have been fighting, aided by Malian forces, to uproot an Islamic rebel movement now contained in their lone remaining stronghold, the northeastern city of Kidal. Timbuktu, also in northern Mali, was freed from rebel control by this collaboration, and reports of the scene when Hollande visited suggest a great deal of jubilance towards the French leader, who pledged to keep troops in Mali “as long as necessary,” until state sovereignty has been restored. In other words, an open-ended military engagement, the sort of which has become dubiously familiar to the international community over the last decade. source  
15:27 // 1 year ago
January 28, 2013
It’s truly alarming that this has happened. They torched all the important ancient manuscripts. The ancient books of geography and science. It is the history of Timbuktu, of its people.
Timbuktu mayor Ousmane Halle • Expressing great frustration after rebels overtaking the country of Mali set ablaze a library including thousands of ancient documents. While some of the documents have been hidden or moved to protect their contents, others were not so lucky. The Islamist rebels in the country have set off on a major path of destruction, destroying ancient artifacts — including the tombs of ancient saints (such as the tomb of tenth-century saint Sidi Mahmoudou), saints which al-Qaeda officials say conflict with Islam by taking the focus off of Allah. source
8:43 // 1 year ago
January 21, 2013
15:24 // 1 year ago
January 19, 2013

Algerian hostage crisis reportedly ends after final assault

  • 23hostages killed, at least, in a gas plant in Algeria over the last few days. The hostages had been held by an al-Qaeda-linked group, which took over the gas facility in retaliation, it’s suspected by Algerian authorities, for allowing France to use their airspace to attack Islamic militants in neighboring Mali. The nationalities of the slain hostages are not yet abundantly clear, though reports have indicated there were Americans as well as British, Japanese, Norwegian, French, Romanian, and Malaysian citizens held in the facility. 32 of the militants involved were also slain in the Algerian military attacks. source
15:24 // 1 year ago
January 17, 2013
In case you haven’t been keeping a close eye on the Mali conflict, The Washington Post’s Max Fisher has an extremely useful guide to what’s going on. “Mali, after all, has long been an obscure country to most Americans, little-known or -discussed even after its crisis began last year,” he explains. “But now that crisis is becoming more important. Some very bad people have taken over the entire northern half of a very big country. This weekend, the French military sent in troops and made bombing runs to halt the rebels’ advance. More countries are talking about getting involved.”

In case you haven’t been keeping a close eye on the Mali conflict, The Washington Post’s Max Fisher has an extremely useful guide to what’s going on. “Mali, after all, has long been an obscure country to most Americans, little-known or -discussed even after its crisis began last year,” he explains. “But now that crisis is becoming more important. Some very bad people have taken over the entire northern half of a very big country. This weekend, the French military sent in troops and made bombing runs to halt the rebels’ advance. More countries are talking about getting involved.”

21:32 // 1 year ago