Terrorists attack luxury hotel in Mali capital, 170 taken hostage

MaliBy Tiemoko Diallo

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Islamist gunmen stormed a luxury hotel packed with foreigners in Mali’s capital Bamako on Friday, taking 170 hostages in a former French colony that has been battling rebels allied with al Qaeda for several years.

A senior security source said some of the hostages had been freed after being made to recite verses from the Koran. The French newspaper Le Monde quoted the Malian security ministry as saying at least three hostages had been killed.

The raid on the Radisson Blu hotel, which lies just west of the city center near government ministries and diplomatic offices in the former French colony, comes a week after Islamic State militants killed 129 people in Paris.

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Zero Dark Mali

Rebels in Maliby Pepe Escobar

The imperialial juggernaut is once again on a roll in North Africa, with France in the lead. Secular-run Algeria had “better get its US$50 billion in reserves out of Western banks as soon as possible.” But overwhelming arms do not guarantee victory. “The French are on their way to meet the American fate in both Iraq and Afghanistan.”

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Mali insurgents torch building containing ancient manuscripts

Mali Soldiers at GaoBAMAKO: Militants fleeing Timbuktu in the face of a French-led offensive in Mali have torched a building housing ancient Arabic manuscripts, security and army sources said Monday.

“A building housing the manuscripts was burned,” a security source told AFP.

Timbuktu, which was the intellectual and spiritual capital of Islam in Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries, is renowned for its collection of manuscripts, some of which date back to the pre-Islamic era.

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Malian Forces Retake Gao, with Western Backing

Mali Soldiers backed by FrenchSEVARE, MALI—French and Malian forces pushed toward the fabled desert town of Timbuktu on Sunday, as the two-week-long French mission gathered momentum against the Islamist extremists who have ruled the north for more than nine months.

So far the French forces have met little resistance, though it remains unclear what battles may await them farther north. The Malian military blocked dozens of international journalists from trying to travel toward Timbuktu.

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Former colonialists not fighting for freedom in Mali

Misery in MaliFrance’s recent military action in Mali has raised many questions about the French Socialists’ rhetoric touting their belief in democracy and freedom. 

French President Francois Hollande seems to have committed a big mistake in Mali, and many compare the move to former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev’s decision to attack Afghanistan in 1979. The military action is expected to have huge repercussions for France, as was the case for Brezhnev, whose reputation was sullied in the international arena.

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Mali’s President Appoints New Prime Minister

Mali Power ChangesDAKAR, SENEGAL — Mali’s interim president has appointed a new prime minister. The move comes less than 24 hours after the former interim prime minister resigned following his arrest by soldiers loyal to the military junta that overthrew the elected government in March.
Mali’s interim president, Dioncounda Traore, said Tuesday night on state television that he had accepted the resignation of now former prime minister Cheikh Modibo Diarra, but made no direct mention of his arrest.

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Mali: Veering Toward A Nigerian Vietnam

Mali PresidentWith the unnerving undercurrents of developments in the vast wastelands of the Sahel and the Sahara in the north of Mali, Nigeria has real cause to worry. It rightly, as put forward by traditionalists, has to worry about dangerous elements determined to entrench themselves in its neighborhood. But Nigeria has to worry about many more things linked to its impending adventure in the roast bowls of the Sahel and the scorching desert of the north of Mali.

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The situation in northern Mali is still as dreadful

Mali Troubles ContinueInterview with Moctar Mariko, President of the Malian Association for Human Rights (AMDH)

How has the situation evolved in the North of Mali these past few months? 

The situation in the North of Mali remains practically unchanged for us. From a humanitarian perspective, I’ve just been informed that since the establishment of the corridor many families in the North of Mali haven’t received a single grain of rice. 

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