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Why it's a bad day to be an Islamist militant in Mali, international resistance grows against rebels

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 18th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It's a bad day to be an Islamist militant in Mali. French airstrikes continued for the fourth consecutive day and more nations have pledged support for the government as French troops arrive to combat Islamist militants in the west-African nation.

PARIS, FRANCE (Catholic Online) - Government sources have confirmed the obvious, that the military operation in Mali is ongoing and intensifying as French military forces strike hard at Islamist positions in northern Mali.

While aircraft pound Islamists from the air, French troops are pouring into the region. Additional support is coming from other nations, including Belgium, Canada, Germany, and the United States are sending transport planes to carry French troops and supplies to the region.

The U.S. government has also promised to provide intelligence support for the French effort. Presently, the first of many American advisers are on the ground in Africa to assist French forces with pre-deployment preparations.

The European Union has also agreed to provide support training for Malian troops.

Militant Islamists have been slowly taking control of northern Mali for some time, village by village. The efforts have been well organized. Those who have refused to convert to Islam have reported efforts to compel them by force.

Sharia law has been imposed and enforced in several villages. Numerous reports of floggings, mutilations, and executions have been reported including the stoning of a couple accused of adultery and multiple forced amputations.

Several historic shrines and sites in Timbuktu have been damaged or destroyed according to reports.

The United Nations is investigating these claims and has referred them to the International Criminal Court for prosecution.

The Islamists made their thrust into southern Mali after a coup which destabilized the government last year. Their goal is to form an independent Islamist state in northern Mali.

As the Islamists threatened to seize the city of Bamko, the French government, an ally of the Malian government, decided to react. President Hollande has called the decision "necessary."

According to the government the Islamists are heavily involved in trafficking among other behaviors and are seeking to destabilize the region in a bid to take control from secular authorities across West Africa. 

"Our duty is to put an end to this, and France assumes its responsibility," President Hollande said.

 

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