Tag Archives: France

13 French military perish in Mali

During counter-terrorist operation in Mali thirteen French soldiers have been killed in a helicopter collision, the French president’s office announced.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed “deep sadness” over the biggest single loss of life for the French military since the 1980s.

An investigation has begun into how the two helicopters crashed into each other.
It happened around 19:40 local time (19:40 GMT) on November 25 near the borders of Burkina Faso and Niger where the aircraft were reinforcing ground troops who were pursuing djihadists, the French military explained.

Thousands of French troops have been deployed in Mali in anti-terrorist operaiton Barkhane in Mali.

French solider killed in Mali

French soldier perished in Mali after his armoured vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb, France’s presidency said in a statement.

Corporal Ronan Pointeau died near Menaka in eastern Mali following “the detonation of an improvised explosive device as his armoured vehicle drove by,” the statement said.

President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Pointeau’s “sacrifice” and said his thoughts were with the soldier’s colleagues and “his Sahelian brothers in arms, who are paying a heavy price in the fight against terrorism.”

The Sahel region became a battlefield between jihadists and governmental forces backed by troops from France and UN peacekeepers.

Pointeau’s death follows an attack on November 1 in the same region that left 49 Malian soldiers dead (according to the other reports 53 military and one civilian).

The offensive was claimed by the Islamic state group via their news site Amaq.

G7 focus on Africa

Let me also say that the EU has concrete proposals for Africa. We are keeping our longstanding commitment to the Global Fund against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and we will contribute 550 million euros to the replenishment of the Fund. This means that our overall involvement will exceed 1 billion euros” said the president of the European Council Donald Tusk (pictured) ahead of the G7 Summit in Biarritz.

“I am also happy to announce that the EU will join the “Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa”, which is an important step in the fight for women’s empowerment. The EU’s contribution of over 85 million euros will help develop 100.000 businesses run by women. Last but not least, the EU will contribute an initial 1 million euros to the “International Fund for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence” that Nadia Murad and Doctor Denis Mukwege, winners of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, will present to G7 leaders tomorrow.”

South Africa will collaborate with other developing countries that have been invited to participate in the summit in order to advance Africa‘s developmental agenda, the Presidency said before President Cyril Ramaphosa left for Biarritz, France to attend the summit scheduled for August 24-26, following South Africa’s invitation to attend as a key partner.

Biarritz25/08/2019 AMENDED:

Mali: Barkhane operation continues

The French General Staff informed about an operation carried out from 25 July to 3 August 2019  in Mali by Barkhane  and the Malian Armed Forces, underlining “the ability and determination of the Malian soldiers to fight alongside Barkhane“.

The 4,500 French troops deployed in former French colonies for ‘Operation Barkhane’ face huge logistical challenges in hostile terrain. The major difficulty is cooperation with a civilian population spread haphazardly across vast and remote spaces, often either sympathetic to the Islamists or terrified of informing about them.

In Gossi, a plagued by Islamic State fighters next to the borders with Burkina Faso and Niger, the town’s local government Councillor had fled after being threatened and found refuge in the Malian base, according to the French Commander.

Operation Barkhane was launched in the wake of Operation Serval, a French offensive that pushed back Tuareg rebels and allied Islamists from northern Mali’s vast desert in 2013.

While Serval had brought moderate stability to northern Mali, unrest had spread to the country’s more populated center, with attacks also reaching neighboring Burkina Faso, Niger and even Ivory Coast.

With no end date announced at its launch, the follow-up operation would try to stabilise countries in the region by assisting their governments in a West African anti-terrorism force. Five years on, no end is in sight.

“We have a dogged adversary, who is tough, drawing from a breeding ground that is favourable to him because the population is isolated,” Colonel Nicolas James, Commander of Desert Tactical Croup Belleface.

Today the radical Islam is actively exploiting modern means of communications, that is why patrol has to search not only for weapons, but also for propaganda in smartphones. When conducting operations, they have to screen the content of smartphones of locals to detect incriminating  jihad propaganda.

On a rare trip with the French troops into central Mali, Reuters journalists were searching for answers why a five-year-old mission, initially planned as a short-term operation to hand over to local forces, may have many more years left to run.

Back in 2018 the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General François Lecointre said: “I do not think that it is possible to solve the problem in Mali in less than ten to fifteen years, if we can at all. The evolution of the situation in Mali is not satisfactory and we will not leave tomorrow, leaving it in stagnation“.

The Barkhane operation relays on €600 millions a year funding.

In spite of being ranked as the third largest in Africa resource of gold, Mali remains of the poorest countries in the world, dependent on international aid. Main gold mines, Sadiola and Morila still constitute the model, which is named “gold-dependent economy”, providing the state with more than a half of export revenue. The average wage in Mali is around a euro per day, and more than half of the population currently lives below poverty line.

 

French soldiers slain in Burkina Faso hostage operation

Four hostages have been rescued by the military in Burkina Faso, the Ministry of foreign affairs of France informed in a communique.

Two French, one American woman and one South Korean woman.

It is with profound sadness that the government informed about the death of two French soldiers were slain during the operation. Four kidnappers were also neutralized.

The French hostages had been kidnapped in neighboring Benin on 1 May.

The two soldiers who were killed during the rescue were named as Cédric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello, described by officials as belonging to a special operations unit.

The French military posted photos of the soldiers on social media.

Burkina Faso has suffered more than 230 attacks in just over three years. In April more than 60 people died in ethnic clashes fueled by Islamic radicals attempting to gain control over Sahel.

Di Maio attacks French “colonialism” in Africa

Italian Ambassador in Paris Teresa Castaldo was summoned after Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio (pictured) accused France of creating poverty in Africa by exploiting it, and aggravating mass migration to Europe.

If we have people who are leaving Africa now it’s because some European countries, and France in particular, have never stopped colonizing Africa,” said Di Maio said, in line with the the 5-Star Movement political vision.

If France didn’t have its African colonies, because that’s what they should be called, it would be the 15th largest world economy. Instead it’s among the first, exactly because of what it is doing in Africa.”

France has been manipulating the economies of 14 African countries that use the CFA franc — a colonial-era currency which is underpinned by the French Treasury, Di Maio continued his criticism.

France is one of those countries that by printing money for 14 African states prevents their economic development and contributes to the fact that the refugees leave and then die in the sea or arrive on our coasts,” he concluded.

The critical remarks of the Italian politician did not pass unnoticed by French diplomacy, the third biggest network in the world after the USA and China.

Ambassador Teresa Castaldo was summoned on January 21 by the chief of staff of European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau, according to French diplomatic sources.

 

 

Gabon conceals details of coup d’état

Gabon concealed the details of  an attempted military coup d’état, killing two suspected plotters and capturing seven others just hours after they took over state radio in a bid to end 50 years of rule by President Ali Bongo’s family.

Government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou announced the deaths and arrests after the military briefly seized the radio station to broadcast an address to the nation, saying Bongo was no longer able to lead after suffering a stroke in Saudi Arabia in October during a conference.

The failure an attempted military coup, caused by lack of widespread support suggest further efforts to overthrow Bongo are unlikely, experts said. However the attempt shows a growing frustration with a government weakened by the President’s secretive protracted absence, and lack of information on his rehabilitation prospects.

On December 31, in one of his first television appearances since the stroke, Bongo (59) slurred his speech and has paralysis of his right arm. It is unclear if he has recovered his capacity to walk. He has been in treatment in one of Morocco clinics since November 2018.

In a radio message at 4:30 a.m. (0330 GMT) Lieutenant Kelly Ondo Obiang, who described himself as an officer in the Republican Guard, said Bongo’s New Year’s Eve address “reinforced doubts about the president’s ability to continue to carry out of the responsibilities of his office”.

Outside the radio station, loyalist soldiers fired teargas to disperse hundreds of people who had come out into the streets to support the coup attempt. Strong military and police presence on the streets, including helicopters, who paroled the area swiftly managed to restore order.

After the episode of unrest, Libreville was quiet, and a government spokesman said the situation was under control after the arrests. Residents complained Internet access was cut, shortly after the coup.

The government is in place. The institutions are in place,Mapangou told France 24 TV Channel.

The Bongo family has ruled rich oil-producing country since 1967, and Ali (Alain) Bongo has been president since succeeding his father, Omar (Albert-Bernard), who died in 2009. Ali Bongo re-election in 2016 was marred by claims of fraud and violent protest.

Since its independence from France in 1960, the sovereign state of Gabon has had only three presidents in almost 60 years.

 

 

 

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