Mali

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Suspect in Timbuktu Shrines' Destruction: 'I Am Really Sorry'

Ahmad al-Mahdi, charged with war crimes, pleads guilty at the Hague

(Newser) - When Islamic rebels backed by al-Qaeda infiltrated Timbuktu in 2012, they wreaked havoc in the Malian city and destroyed Muslim shrines, including nine mausoleums and the door of a mosque that had remained shut for hundreds of years, per the Guardian . Now Ahmad al-Mahdi, a former employee with Mali's... More »

An Ancient Mud City Is in Danger

UNESCO adds World Heritage site to list

(Newser) - The West African country of Mali claims four UNESCO World Heritage Sites , and as of Wednesday, three of them were on the List of World Heritage in Danger —which runs only 54 items long. The Old Towns of Djenné and its 2,000 mud houses, which have been inhabited... More »

American Aid Worker Died in Mali Hotel Attack

Anita Datar is one of 20 confirmed victims

(Newser) - The death toll in Friday's terrorist attack on a hotel in Mali stands at 20, including an American woman described by her family as "one of the kindest and most generous people we know." Anita Datar, the only confirmed US casualty in the attack, was an international... More »

Hostages All Freed in Mali Hotel Siege: Reports

But security forces still said to be trying to 'dislodge' gunmen

(Newser) - The hostage crisis at a luxury hotel in Mali's capital appears to be over, according to various reports, but not before dozens of people are said to have perished in the attack. Security sources tell Reuters that Malian commandos stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako after 170 hostages... More »

Malaria Nets Can't Stop New 'Super Mosquito'

Insects created by interbreeding 2 Mali species survive exposure

(Newser) - For years, campaigns such as Nothing But Nets have been trying to control the scourge of malaria —a blood disease spread by mosquito bites—by sending insecticide-laced nets to hard-hit regions (mostly in Africa). But a University of California-Davis study has some bad news: Researchers have discovered a hybrid... More »

Huge Mountains Fed Ocean Life 600M Years Ago

Range stretched 1.5K miles from Africa to South America

(Newser) - Scientists have discovered evidence of an ancient mountain range that spread 1,550 miles from Africa to South America back when the two continents were one. And strange as it may sound, the massive mountain range on the supercontinent Gondwana, similar in size to the Himalayas, actually fed our oceans... More »

No Survivors in Mali Crash

French troops locate one black box after plane goes down

(Newser) - French officials have sent troops to secure the site in northern Mali where an Air Algerie plane crashed yesterday, but expect no miracles: "Sadly, there is no survivor," French President Francois Hollande said today, reports the Guardian . He also said that one black box had been recovered and... More »

Mali: We've Spotted Wreckage of Missing Plane

President announces find, but it hasn't been confirmed yet

(Newser) - There's still no word on the fate of 116 people aboard an Air Algerie flight that went missing over Mali today, but multiple reports say wreckage has been spotted. The most credible comes via Reuters from Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. "I have just been informed that the... More »

France Goes Shopping for US Drones

Congress has approved two for Mali military operations

(Newser) - France is looking to assemble a fleet of intelligence gathering drones to use in its military operations in Mali, and is in talks with both the US and Israel to get its hands on some. The Pentagon has already approved the sale of two Reaper drones (Congress still needs to... More »

Obama: Our Mission in Niger Has Begun

At least 100 military personnel stationed next to Mali

(Newser) - President Obama told Congress today that he has sent troops to Niger to support France's mission against militants in neighboring Mali, Reuters reports. But the deployment of about 100 military personnel will only set up a base for unarmed aircraft to conduct surveillance, he wrote in a letter. He... More »

Militants Drop Tipsheet for Ducking Drone Attacks

Tips include hiding under trees, painting cars with dirt

(Newser) - Islamic militants fleeing northern Mali left behind a fascinating list—of al-Qaeda's tips for avoiding drone attacks, the AP reports. The tips themselves are nothing new—they've been posted on websites for a couple of years—but with Mali militants having them, it's clear how well-coordinated al-Qaeda... More »

French, Mali Forces Re-Take City After Rebel Canoe Raid

Analysts warn this could be start of guerrilla campaign

(Newser) - It may be too soon to call Mali "mission accomplie," after Islamic rebels renewed fighting in the eastern city of Gao last night, reports the Christian Science Monitor . About a dozen rebels sneaked across the Niger River over the weekend in canoes, placing snipers on buildings to fire... More »

France: Mali Fighting Over, Time for Talks

Mali interim prez refuses to talk to Islamic militants, only secular groups

(Newser) - With French forces retaking the last city held by rebels , Paris is now looking for the Mali government and "legitimate representatives" from rebel groups to talk, reports al-Jazeera . "We have arrived at a moment of change," says France's defense minister, declaring that "the French intervention... More »

France Takes Mali's Last Rebel City; Next: the Hard Part

A force of African nations will try to keep militants from mounting comeback

(Newser) - France is wrapping up the first phase of its Mali mission: Its forces took back the last big urban center once held by Islamic militants, reports Reuters . The success in Kidal follows similar operations in Gao and Timbuktu over the last three weeks, and now France is getting ready to... More »

Niger (Yes, Next to Mali) to Host US Drones

Deal opens possibility of US military presence

(Newser) - Niger's president has agreed to let the US use the country—which borders Mali—as a base for surveillance drones, a source tells Reuters . The drones would be used to spy on militants with al-Qaeda ties in Mali and the Sahara as a whole, according to the insider, who... More »

US Might Step Up Involvement in Mali

Considers sending refueling planes for French jets: New York Times

(Newser) - The US has provided modest tactical and intelligence aid to France so far in its fight against al-Qaeda-linked militants in Mali, but the New York Times reports that US officials are now considering a notable increase—sending in aerial refueling planes for French fighter jets. Talks have been under way... More »

To Fight African Terrorism, Start by Educating Girls

Military-only strategy is doomed to fail: Malcolm Potts

(Newser) - The US and the entire world ought to be very worried about what's going in in Mali , Algeria , and the rest of the Sahel region in Africa, because things are going to get much worse without "radical new policies," writes obstetrician Malcolm Potts in the Los Angeles ... More »

US on Training Mali Troops: We Made Mistakes

Gen Ham admits not enough focus on 'values, ethics, ethos'

(Newser) - A senior American official has admitted the United States made mistakes in its training of the country's troops, reports the BBC . Gen. Carter Ham of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) said that training had focused on tactics and "technical matters," at the expense of teaching recruits about... More »

As African Coalition Enters Mali, Rebels Splinter

Branch of al-Qaeda-linked group calls for peace talks

(Newser) - Less than two weeks after France started airstrikes in rebel-held Mali , and a day after thousands of African coalition troops began to enter the country, one rebel faction has broken away from Islamic militants and called for peace talks, reports the AP . One wing of al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine, calling itself... More »

UN to Investigate US, UK Drone Attacks

Critics say drone strikes hit civilians, violate int'l laws

(Newser) - In the face of mounting criticism about US and UK drone strikes , the United Nations is going to investigate the use of drones in targeted killings in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, reports the Guardian . The investigation will look at drone strikes in Mali and those made by Israel into... More »

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