Photo: Samuel Bendet via US Army
Barely two weeks after saying it wouldn’t intervene in Mali but suggested that other African nations do, France announced it would send drones to its former colony, and that it would make its resources available to counterparts in the region.France pushed a United Nations Security Council resolution, which passed on Oct. 12, that gave the Malian government and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) 45 days to make a plan to take down the al Qaeda group that took over after rebels toppled the government in March.
The country started falling apart when soldiers took the capital, believing the president wasn’t controlling separatists in Azawad, the northern part of the country. Tuaregs, fighting under the name National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) jumped in and seized regional capitals. Then Islamic extremist group Ansar al-Dine barged in and started enforcing Islamic rule.
The United States, European Union, and UN are joining France in the new efforts, the Guardian reported. The US is primarily partnering on intelligence gathering and security, and Germany pledged military training and logistical support. Other countries are still figuring out what they’re going to offer.
On Friday, the leaders of several African nations and ECOWAS gathered in Bamako, Mali’s capital, to figure out their plan. Niger, Burkina Faso, and Togo each committed military forces.
In response, al Qaeda is bolstering its own numbers. The Telegraph reported that residents in the two biggest cities in Mali’s north, Timbuktu and Gao, saw an influx of fighters ready to support Ansar al-Dine and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM).
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