You have commented 278 times on Rantburg.

Your Name
Your e-mail (optional)
Website (optional)
My Original Nic        Pic-a-Nic        Sorry. Comments have been closed on this article.
Bold Italic Underline Strike Bullet Blockquote Small Big Link Squish Foto Photo
Africa North
France says its journalists 'coldly assassinated' in Mali
2013-11-04
[Al Ahram] La Belle France said on Sunday two French journalists found dead in the northern Mali region of Kidal had been "coldly assassinated" by gunnies and vowed to step up security measures in the area.

Radio journalists Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont were kidnapped after interviewing a member of the MNLA Tuareg separatist group in northern Mali.

Their bodies were found on Saturday by a French patrol 12 km (8 miles) outside Kidal, the birthplace of a Tuareg uprising last year that plunged Mali into chaos, leading to a coup in the capital Bamako and the occupation of the northern half of the country by gunnies linked to Al-Qaeda.

Full details of why the journalists were killed and who carried out the attack were not immediately clear, but Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius put the blame firmly on gunnies operating in the region.

"The assassins are those that we are fighting, the terrorist groups that refuse democracy and elections," Fabius said, calling the killings "heinous and revolting".

Fabius said one of the journalists had been shot twice, and the other three times. He said French forces had tried to find the hostage takers, but to no avail.

Gay Paree launched air strikes and sent thousands of soldiers into Mali at the start of the year to drive back al Qaeda-linked rebels it said could turn the West African country into a base for international attacks.

Although Malian, UN and French troops are stationed in Kidal, none are heavily deployed. The Malian army's contingent is generally symbolic and soldiers are confined to their base.

There are some 200 UN peacekeepers (MINUSMA)who are officially in control of security and La Belle France also has about 200 troops, though their operations in the region have focussed on the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains to the north, which served for years as a hideout for bully boys.

GUNMEN ROAM KIDAL

"Security in the area and the surrounding areas will be increased," Fabius said, after a specially convened meeting between President Francois Hollande
...the Socialist president of La Belle France, an economic bad joke for la Belle France but seemingly a foreign policy realist...
and key cabinet ministers. He did not elaborate.

Mali government front man Mahamane Baby echoes those comments saying President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Hollande had agreed that the status quo could not remain during a telephone call late on Saturday.

"The two heads of state agreed that the situation in Kidal was unacceptable and that a change was necessary to ensure the security of all Malians and foreigners present there," he said.

According to the Ouagadougou agreement signed by Mali's government and rebel groups ahead of the July elections that aimed to pave the way for a peace deal across the country, rebel fighters were due to be confined to barracks before the new government launched a final round of peace talks.

However,
nothing needs reforming like other people's bad habits...
MNLA fighters still operate in and around Kidal, much to the frustration of Bamako. A small contingent of Malian government troops is present in the town, though they are largely confined to barracks.

The journalists' deaths came just days after four kidnapped Frenchies kidnapped in Niger by Al-aeda's north African (AQIM) wing were released following secret talks with officials from the West African country. They had been held for three years.

Gay Paree dismissed media reports the government had used public funds to pay a ransom of some $20 million.

Pierre Boilley, an Africa expert at the Centre for National Scientic Research (CNRS), said the attack was likely to have been carried out by groups linked to AQIM or to a lesser degree people trying to undermine political talks between the central government and northern rebels.

"It could also have been vengeance. There are difficulties within AQIM. Some may have benefited from the hostages' ransom, and others may have been neglected so it's a possible hypothesis," he said.
Posted by:Fred

#1  
Posted by: Spereting Tingle4064   2013-11-04 04:22  

00:00