Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mali insurgency endangers French pull-out plan......What happened to March?

France wants to cut its forces in Mali sharply by the year-end and is urging its ex-colony to hold elections in July, but an Islamist insurgency is threatening that timetable.

Many people in northern Mali who lived under the rebels' brutal form of Islamic law last year are apprehensive about French plans to leave just 1,000 of the current 4,000 troops in the country by December, with U.N. peacekeepers filling the gap.

"The Islamists are waiting for the French to leave to open the gates to hell. Let's hope the U.N. will take over quickly because the Malian army alone cannot face the terrorism threat," said Alhassane MaƮga, a teacher in the ancient trading post of Timbuktu.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/03/us-mali-france-idUSBRE9320HY20130403

President Francois Hollande "confirmed that if all goes as planned, by the end of March the number of French troops engaged in Mali can begin to diminish."


http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/02/06/france-president-says-french-troops-could-start-pulling-out-mali-by-end-march/