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U.S. aids France in Mali action

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

While the Pentagon has no plans at this time to send U.S. troops into Mali, America has agreed to help France airlift troops and equipment into Mali, where Islamist extremists have seized control of the north. The action is in response to France's request for help. Officials from both countries are holding detailed talks on the next step and what resources need to be used.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says 1,400 troops are now in Mali, France plans to send in as many as 2,500 soldiers, to which Drain says where forces will remain until Mali is stable.

West African military chiefs say 2,000 troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Togo will arrive shortly as part of a United Nations' authorized force.

The situation in that West African nation has been inflamed as residents fled the Malian town of Diabaly which was recently seized by Islamist extremists. Witnesses have reported fighting between French soldiers and the nearby militants.

Phone lines in Diabaly are reportedly dead. According to a local journalist, residents have reported Islamists deployed throughout the town.

Al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists seized control of northern Mali after renegade soldiers toppled the government in March. In the resulting power vacuum, the militants have imposed harsh conservative Islamic law across the north.

France had sent troops into Mali at the request of the country's interim government.

"We need to send a strong signal to the separatists and the people who are there that the action cannot be tolerated, and we need to eventually get -- our expectation finally is to restore peace to make sure Mali remains as an integral state and that the state is in charge, that Mali is in charge of its own affairs," African Union Deputy Commissioner Erastus Mwencha says. While the union always seeks a peaceful resolution in Mali, he says now that there is a need for a military force.


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