European force battling extremists withdraws from Mali

Jun 30, 2022, 3:44 PM | Updated: Jul 1, 2022, 5:54 am

PARIS (AP) — A European military task force that helped Mali’s government fight Islamic extremists has formally withdrawn from the West African country amid tensions with its ruling military junta.

The French military, which spearheaded the Takuba task force, announced Friday that it officially ended its work Thursday. The move was tied to France’s decision earlier this year to withdraw troops from Mali after nine years helping Malian forces fight violent extremists who had threatened to seize power.

The European departure comes after at least 132 people were killed in several villages in central Mali in recent weeks in attacks blamed on jihadi rebels linked to al-Qaida, and after a contractor for the U.N. peacekeeping force in Mali was killed Thursday.

It also comes as Mali’s junta has grown closer to Russia, as Moscow has looked to build alliances and gain sway in Africa.

The European Takuba force was composed of several hundred special forces troops from 10 countries: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden. It aimed at training and protecting Malian combat forces.

Despite the withdrawal, the French military called the force a “strategic and tactical success” and an example of “what Europeans are able to achieve together in complex security environments,” saying that lessons learned from Takuba could be used in future joint operations.

In announcing its pullout, France accused Mali’s authorities of neglecting the fight against Islamic extremists. France is maintaining a military presence in neighboring West African nations facing similar threats.

Insurgents remain active in Mali, and extremist groups affiliated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have moved from the arid north to more populated central Mali, stoking animosity and violence between ethnic groups in the region.

The recent attacks on villages in central Mali were the deadliest since mutinous soldiers toppled the president in 2020.

Then on Thursday, a Malian contractor for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali was killed by armed militants on a motorcycle in the city of Menaka. The U.N. force MINUSMA said he was in route to see his hospitalized wife when he was killed, denouncing the killing as a “cowardly and barbaric act.”

The U.N. Security Council voted Wednesday to maintain the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, while condemning its military rulers for using mercenaries who are accused of committing human rights and humanitarian violations.

The junta has hired mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group, which has been accused by the European Union and human rights groups of violating human rights and international humanitarian law. While the Kremlin denies links to the company, Western analysts call it a tool of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia and China abstained from the French-drafted U.N. resolution, which extends the mandate of the mission until June 30, 2023, with its current ceiling of 13,289 military personnel and 1,920 international police.

Officials say more than 270 peacekeepers have died in Mali, making it the U.N.’s deadliest peacekeeping mission.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A family serve themselves lunch at the Chabad Lubavitch of Southwest Florida, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022,...
Associated Press

Amid Ian’s wounds, Jews see healing, renewal in Yom Kippur

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Even though a destructive hurricane tore through his community just days earlier, nothing was going to stop Rabbi Yitzchok Minkowicz from holding prayer services Tuesday night for the start of the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. Throughout a southwest Florida devastated by Hurricane Ian, Jews planned to hold worship […]
1 day ago
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno speaks at a press conference in Tokyo Tuesday, Sep...
Associated Press

Japan to expel Russia consul as ties worsen over Ukraine

TOKYO (AP) — Japan on Tuesday ordered the Russian consul in the northern city of Sapporo to leave the country within six days in retaliation for Moscow’s expulsion of a Japanese diplomat last month for alleged espionage. Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said his ministry declared the consul a persona non grata, or an undesirable […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Ugandan opposition figure Bobi Wine objects to oil pipeline

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A planned pipeline to export oil from Uganda is likely to entrench the long rule of President Yoweri Museveni, opposition figure Bobi Wine said Tuesday, voicing his opposition to a project that’s increasingly controversial over environmental concerns. Wine, a singer and former lawmaker who ran for president in 2021, is the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Bulgaria: Borissov offers coalition, doesn’t want PM’s post

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, whose center-right GERB party emerged as the winner of Bulgaria’s parliamentary election, invited his political opponents Tuesday to talks on forming a government. Results from Sunday’s election showed GERB with 25.4% of the vote, edging out the reformist We Continue the Change party by more than […]
1 day ago
A man pumps water in front of destroyed house in the recently recaptured town of Lyman, Ukraine, Mo...
Associated Press

World Bank: Ukraine’s war-torn economy will sink 35% in ’22

WASHINGTON (AP) — Devastated by Russia’s invasion eight months ago, the Ukrainian economy will plunge 35% this year, the World Bank forecast Tuesday. The war has destroyed factories and farmland and displaced millions of Ukrainians. The World Bank, a 189-country anti-poverty agency, estimates that rebuilding the country will cost at least $349 billion, 1.5 times […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Motorcycle-riding gunmen kill Philippine radio commentator

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Motorcycle-riding gunmen killed a longtime radio commentator in metropolitan Manila in the latest attack on a member of the media in the Philippines, considered one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists. Police said Percival Mabasa, 63, was driving his vehicle Monday night when two men on a motorcycle approached […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
European force battling extremists withdraws from Mali