Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Mali terrorist attacks show insecurity - UN

17 October 2013, 08:32

New York - Recent attacks by armed groups and terrorists are an important "wake up call" highlighting the challenge of stabilising the volatile north and restoring security to the west African nation, the top UN envoy to the country said on Wednesday.

Albert Koenders told the UN Security Council that the successful presidential election this summer and progress in recent months have opened up new prospects for Mali's recovery and longer-term future, but the recent attacks demonstrate the need to address the root causes of the country's near-collapse last year along with its serious humanitarian needs and shocking malnutrition levels.

He pointed to a suicide attack by extremist elements in Timbuktu on 28 September, the shelling of Gao on 7 October by other extremists, the tense situation in the northern city of Kidal, where volleys of gunfire erupted in late September, and tensions within Mali's armed forces, where at least 30 disgruntled soldiers kidnapped two officers amid sustained gunfire in the garrison town of Kati on 1 October demanding that their names be reinstated on a promotions list.

Mali fell into turmoil after a March 2012 coup created a security vacuum that allowed secular Tuareg rebels to take over half of the country's north as a new homeland. Months later, the rebels were kicked out by Islamic jihadists, many linked to al-Qaeda. When the Islamists started moving into government-controlled areas in the south, France launched a military offensive on 11 January to oust them, but remnants of the rebels remain.

Mali's minister for national reconciliation and development of the north, Cheick Oumar Diarrah, echoed Koenders, saying the return of armed groups, terrorists and jihadists represent a threat to stability, peace and security in the north "and for the Sahel as a whole."

He said the surge of terrorist activity in recent weeks requires the deployment of the Malian army throughout the country and greater support from the new UN force. He also called for a renewed commitment by the international community to combat terrorism and trans-border crime.

Democracy and stability

"We cannot lower our guard vis-a-vis the terrorist groups and jihadists so that the Malian crisis can be resolved and so that we can turn the page and move toward," resolving other pressing problems in the north but also in the south where there are serious food shortages and "more than 800 000 people are facing immeasurable difficulties".

France's UN Ambassador Gerard Araud called Mali's turnaround "a remarkable success story" and said the recent attacks were unorganized and "quite amateurish." But he agreed with Koender that they are "a wake up call" and stressed that "we must be vigilant."

France has more than 3 000 troops in Mali and President Francois Hollande said last month that a drawdown to 1 000 troops would be delayed slightly from the end of the year to the end of January 2014.

A new UN peacekeeping force known as MINUSMA took over from a 6 000-member African-led mission in Mali on 1 July with an authorised strength of 11 200 military personnel and a mandate to help restore democracy and stabilise the northern half of the country.

In a report to the Security Council circulated Wednesday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that as of 15 September, MINUSMA's troop strength stood at just over 5 200 following the withdrawal of an infantry battalion, which was from Nigeria. MINUSMA also lost about 150 Chadian troops last month.

Ban said the force needs two infantry battalions, an airfield engineering company to repair several airstrips in the north, and a special forces company and information unit to reach its authorized strength. It also needs utility and armed military helicopters, which are critical for MINUSMA's operations, he said.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...