Tuesday, May 21, 2013

EU mission seeks to rebuild Mali army after U.S. faltered

Under a blazing sun and the critical gaze of British and Irish instructors, a line of 11 Malian soldiers lie prone in the dust firing AK-47 rounds at targets, one-by-one.

"One out of 10 - not very good," Captain Ibrahim Soumassa, commander of the Malian unit, tells one of the men. "We're at 25 meters. When we're at 100, it'll be difficult."

A European Union training mission faces a considerable challenge as it seeks to succeed where years of U.S. instruction failed by turning Mali's rag-tag army into a force capable of facing an Islamist threat stretching across the Sahara.