BAMAKO, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Malian authorities have officially declared control of the central town of Konna after days of fierce battle with Al-Qaida-linked rebels.
Both the army and state television announced the control on Thursday night to spark jubilation among Malians, especially in Konna, which changed hands in the fight to stop northern rebels from a southward push.
Speaking on television, lieutenant-colonel Diarran Kone, the communication adviser in Mali's Defense Ministry, said the town was under the control of the army and that French forces were absent in a strategic move.
France intervened a week ago to launch air raids on rebels who briefly seized Konna from retreating Malian soldiers. The bombardments forced rebels to flee out of town and fightings lasted days in which some military sources claimed the recapture of the town.
A Malian soldier, who did not wish to be named, said there was heavy fighting between the army and rebels from Wednesday night to Thursday morning, adding that there were heavy losses of lives and materials on the side of rebels.
In the town of Diabaly near the Mauritanian border, rebels are still surrounded by the Malian army supported by the French troops.
KAMPALA, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- The visiting African Union Chairman Yayi Boni in Uganda said on Thursday that he fully supports the decision to send an international peace-keeping force to Mali to battle an extremist rebel group in its northern region.
The remark was made when Boni, also the president of Benin was meeting with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni about the ongoing military operation in the West African state of Mali. Full story
BAMAKO, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- The International Support Mission for Mali (MISMA) will effectively begin its operations on Jan. 18 to Nov. 23, 2013, the chairman of the Committee of the ECOWAS general chiefs of staff, Cote d'Ivoire's general Soumaila Bakayoko said on Thursday.
At the end of the extraordinary meeting held in Bamako between Jan. 15 to 16, four countries which include Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Togo agreed to send their ground forces to Mali between Tuesday and Thursday next week.
PARIS, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- The France-led military intervention in Mali to oust Islamist rebels from the west African country may last a few weeks, Malian Foreign Affairs Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibali said on Tuesday.
In an interview with local broadcaster Europe1, Coulibali said further military aid would be needed after the operation ends to help local authorities restore political stability. Full story