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NGO coalition says new tack needed to fight Sahel insurgency

Bamako - Some 50 NGOs on Tuesday called for a fresh approach to fighting jihadism in Africa's vast Sahel region, including dialogue with insurgents and protecting civilians from soldiers.

France defends army's 'honour' after UN says Mali civilians killed

Bamako - France's defence minister said she would not allow the honour of French forces to be "sullied" on Thursday, two days after the UN said a French strike killed 19 civilians in Mali.

In Mali, ICC prosecutor savours ruling to punish Timbuktu destruction

Timbuktu - Wearing a green head-dress matching her African robes, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, visited Timbuktu on a mission to turn the page on a chapter of cultural desecration.

France to meet Sahel leaders as it mulls troop drawdown

Bamako - France and five allies meet next week to discuss the Sahel's jihadist insurgency, with Paris looking for support enabling it to cut French troop numbers in the strife-torn region.

28 peacekeepers wounded in Mali attack: UN

Bamako - Twenty-eight United Nations peacekeepers were wounded in an attack on their base in central Mali on Wednesday, a UN spokesperson said, in the latest violence to hit the Sahel state.

Suspected jihadists kill six Mali soldiers in twin attacks

Bamako - Twin attacks on the army in central Mali overnight killed six soldiers while some 30 suspected jihadists were also left dead in response, the military said Sunday.

Three Ivorian UN peacekeepers killed in Mali attack

Bamako - Three UN peacekeepers from Ivory Coast were killed in central Mali on Wednesday, the UN and Ivorian government said, in the latest violence to hit the war-torn Sahel state.

Mali lost in transition as army expands its role after coup

Bamako - Hopes that soldiers behind Mali's coup would swiftly restore civilian rule and tackle jihadism and ethnic violence are fading fast as the army expands its role.

Sory Bamba: Malian music's forgotten great

Mopti - Sory Bamba, a Malian music pioneer, spends his days ensconced in the courtyard of his home in the old quarter of Mopti, a town in the centre of the country on the edge of the Sahara.

Mali ex-president Amadou Toumani Toure dies aged 72

Bamako - Mali's former president, Amadou Toumani Toure, who steered the Sahel nation to democracy and led it for a decade before being ousted in a coup, has died in Turkey aged 72, a family member and a doctor said on Tuesday.

Elite European anti-jihadist force takes first steps in Sahel

Gao - Inside a military base in northern Mali, a concrete bollard emblazoned with French, Estonian and Swedish flags marks a zone reserved for a new anti-jihadist unit of elite European troops.

Mali trial over 2015 Bamako attacks opens

Bamako - A Malian court opened proceedings Tuesday against alleged Islamists who are accused of killing over two dozen people in attacks targeting foreigners in 2015, in a rare terror trial in the Sahel state.

France, Mali at odds over dialogue with jihadists

Bamako - France and Mali differed on Monday over whether to talk to jihadists to help end the Sahel state's eight-year-old insurgency, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian ruling the option out.

French, Italian captives freed with top politician in Mali

Bamako - Mali announced Thursday the release of an elderly French aid worker, two Italian captives and a top Malian politician, all believed to have been held by jihadists.

Mali frees more jihadists, boosting hostage release scenario

Bamako - A second batch of jihadists has been freed in Mali, sources said Tuesday, boosting speculation that a French charity worker and Malian politician held by the insurgents may be freed in a swap.

Mali frees over 100 jihadists seeking hostage swap

Bamako - Insurgency-hit Mali freed over 100 alleged or convicted jihadists over the weekend in a bid to secure the release of a top politician and French charity worker, an official in charge of the negotiations told AFP on Monday.

Mali frees over 100 jihadists seeking hostage swap

Bamako - Insurgency-hit Mali has freed over 100 alleged or convicted jihadists to secure the release of a top politician and a French charity worker, sources close to the talks said Monday.

Far from the capital, Malian Sufi leader wields clout

Timbuktu - Cattle herders, traders and heads of state are among the people who have sought the ear of the sharif of Nioro, one of Mali's most influential men, to whom they voice their needs, grievances and hopes.

Mali's new interim leader stands by handover, international accords

Bamako - Mali's interim president, Bah Ndaw, was sworn into office on Friday after last month's putsch, vowing to hand over power within 18 months, honour international accords and pursue the fight against jihadist insurgents.

Ex-defence minister appointed Mali's transition leader

Bamako - Mali's military junta announced the leaders of a new transition government in the Sahel state on Monday, which will retain strong army links despite international pressure to appoint civilians after a coup.
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