UN Security Council to meet amid Mali crisis

UN Security Council to meet amid Mali crisis

A spokesman for the French U.N. Mission says the Security Council will meet Monday at France’s request to discuss Mali.

Spokesman Brieuc Pont said in a tweet posted Sunday that the council will meet Monday afternoon “to examine the situation in Mali.” French troops have intervened to oust al-Qaida-linked Islamist extremists who control northern Mali.

The 3-day-old, French-led effort to take back Mali’s north from the extremists has included airstrikes by jets and combat helicopters on at least four northern towns. Some 400 French troops have been deployed to the country in the all-out effort to win back the territory from the well-armed rebels, who seized control of an area larger than France itself following a coup in Mali nine months ago.

French fighters pound Islamists

Algeria has allowed French fighters to use its airspace to carry out air strikes against Islamist militants in Mali.

This was reported on Sunday by the AFP citing a statement by the Foreign Ministry of France Laurent Fabius.

Earlier, French planes bombarded a militant base in the north.

The situation in Mali has escalated in recent weeks after extremist groups, occupying the north of the country began attacking positions held by the military and the central part of the country.

On Thursday military forces from Germany and France arrived to assist the government troops of Mali.

On Friday the Malian authorities declared a state of emergency throughout the country and announced the full mobilization of the army and reservists.

RAF C-17 en-route to Mali

The first military transport aircraft of the UK’s Royal Air Force, a Boeing C-17, scheduled to assist the situation in Mali has left the UK and is en-route to that country.

The plane has been dispatched to assist French Forces carrying out operations in that country.

Official London has stressed that the British Air Force "will not participate directly in the military operations in the African country."

The conflict in Mali erupted in mid-March 2012, when a group of soldiers staged an armed rebellion in Bamako.

The coup was then used by Tuareg rebels and armed extremist Islamist groups in the north, to take control of large swathes of territory and they continued to hold a large area centered in Timbuktu.

An Islamist leader killed in Mali

A close cohort of Iyad Ag Ghali, the leader of the radical Islamist movement Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith) was killed during the fighting for the town of Kona in the central part of Mali. The Malian army backed by French aircraft recaptured Kona from the rebels on Friday. On Saturday the Malian military announced the death of 100 rebels and one French pilot.

The situation in Mali became aggravated over recent weeks when rebel fighters from extremist groups controlling the north of the country started attacking positions of the government troops in the central parts of Mali.

On the 10th of January military contingents from France and Germany arrived to assist Malian government troops.