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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Britain to send forces to Mali as part of EU mission — why are Western powers suddenly interested in Africa?

Downing Street has said that the British government will dispatch 350 troops to Mali to aid French troops stationed in the country's north, as part of a UK mission to train local forces and engage in “force protection.”
­British representatives are attending a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the provision of troops as part of an EU mission to the African country. The EU estimates that 500 supplementary troops will be sent to Mali, some 350 of which will be British. This will include approximately 40 military advisers who will train soldiers in Mali and 200 British soldiers to be sent to neighboring African countries.
An ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States) force of West African troops – about 7,500 of them – are also coming into Mali to take over some garrison duties, and steadily take over the fighting role from the French.
The budget for the campaign, which has been set at around $950m will be financed through an international donors' conference based in Ethiopia.
British Prime Minister David Cameron told French President François Hollande on Sunday evening that the UK was keen to provide military assistance in Mali and West Africa, including the training of local forces.
Read More: Britain to send forces to Mali as part of EU mission — RT
Ancient manuscripts displayed at the library in the city of Timbuktu. Islamists fleeing Timbuktu in the face of a French-led offensive have torched a building housing ancient Arabic manuscripts, security and army sources said on January 28, 2013 (AFP Photo / Evan Schneider) 28.01, 18:49 20 comments

Torch and go: Islamists burn down rare manuscript library in Timbuktu

Islamist rebels have burnt down a library full of ancient manuscripts in the Malian town of Timbuktu as they fled, according to officials. The South African-funded library contained thousands of priceless documents dating back to the 13th century.
A French armoured vehicle patrols in a street of Diabali (400km north of Bamako) on January 23, 2013.(AFP PHOTO / Eric Feferberg) 25.01, 17:20 16 comments

Back to le future in Mali: French neo-colonialism looms over Africa?

Malians hoping French troops have arrived to save them from Islamists may see other objectives revealed. France views Mali as a promising source of uranium and oil, and part of a geopolitical game, say observers.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds a small US-made drone drone that the Ugandan military uses in Somalia to fight al-Qaida linked militants (AFP Photo / Pool / Jacquelyn Martin) Today: 05:10 32 comments

US considering new drone base in Africa - report

The US is planning to consolidate its position in Africa with a new drone outpost in Niger, with the stated purpose of providing unarmed surveillance support to French efforts in Mali and keeping tabs on al-Qaeda elements on the continent.
A convoy of French military vehicles drive on a road outside Markala, Mali, January 22, 2013. (Reuters / Joe Penney) 23.01, 17:24 13 comments

Desert is their land: ‘French up against Mali guerillas who don’t observe borders’

A successful advance of French troops in Mali has prompted hopes in the Malian command that the war could be over within a month. But freelance journalist Andy Morgan tells RT France is yet to taste the might of Islamists who dominate the desert.

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