Mali conflict: French and Malian forces yet to enter last stronghold of Islamist Fighters

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says sandstorm is preventing Malian and French forces from entering the last major town 0f Kidal in northern Mali.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says sandstorm is preventing Malian and French forces from entering the last major town 0f Kidal in northern Mali.

The French defence minister says a sandstorm is preventing Malian and French forces from entering the last major town 0f Kidal in northern Mali in their offensive against Islamist militants.

Kidal is the strongest home of the Islamist Fighters who are fighting to overthrow the Malian government and is very close to the Algerian border.

This statement by the minister seems to contradict earlier report that the joint forces have entered the town and did not faced any resistance from the Islamist Fighters.

French and Malian forces have been sweeping north, earlier taking some towns such as Hombori, Gao and Timbuktu with almost no resistance from the Islamist Fighters.

The retreating Islamist militants have been accused of destroying ancient manuscripts held in Timbuktu, but a senior official now says that most of the documents are safe and secured.

The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday that France intended to leave Mali quickly, and it was up to African countries to take over the rest of the mission.

Several hundred soldiers from West African countries which include Niger and Chad are already in Mali to help the operation against the Islamist Fighters.

But the minister said further that enough progress had been temporarily halted by a sandstorm in the area, about 1,500km (930 miles) north-east of the capital Bamako.

The Islamist militants had taken advantage of a military coup in March last year to impose Sharia law in a number of cities in the north.

One of the influential rebel group in the north who broke away from the Islamist group, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad reportedly told the AP that they will help restore law and order in the north if the joint forces secure the town.

The MNLA has also said it is prepared to work with the French to eradicate terrorist groups in the north but that it would not allow the return of the Malian army, which it accused of crimes against the civilian population.

Paris on Wednesday urged the Malian government to open discussions with the legitimate representatives of the people in the north as well as non-terrorist armed groups.

The French and Malian forces seem to have taken control of the airport but not completely the town as earlier report indicated.

Meanwhile, France has been pushing for the swift deployment of an African Union-backed force, the International Support Mission to Mali (Afisma), to take control of Malian towns.

On Tuesday, international donors meeting in Ethiopia pledged $455.53m (£289m) for Afisma and for other projects which the African Union say is a great effort from the international community and show of solidarity towards the Malian people.

But African Union leaders were quick to estimate the overall budget and said could be around $950m and more still need to be done to help the people of Mali.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News                                                            

 

 

 

 

 

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Breaking News: 300 people injured in commuter trains in South Africa

About 300 people wereinjured  in commuter trains in South Africa this morning

About 300 people wereinjured in commuter trains in South Africa this morning

Two passenger trains have collided in the South African capital Pretoria resulting in 300 injuries including many school children.

The incident took place on Thursday morning after a commuter train heading from the suburbs to Pretoria ploughed into a stationary train on the same track.

The trains were operated by Metrorail, South Africa’s rail system in cities.

Medical workers on the scene told reporters that 28 people are in critical condition and are in Intensive Care Unit ICU.

The theft of cables used for signaling, compounded by human error, caused the crash, said the head of South Africa’s rail authority.

“Both of the trains were full of commuters and between them were lots of schoolchildren on the way to school,” a spokesman for the regional emergency services told the AFP news agency.

“When cables are stolen it affects our signaling system,” we then move to what we call manual operations, said rail authority head Mosenngwa Mofi.

“We do have 28 seriously injured, both of the trains were full of commuters and between them were lots of school children on the way to school, we counted about 50 plus children said Johan Pieterse of Tshwane Emergency Services told press TV in addition.

800 people were injured in a similar accident when a speeding train hit a stationary one near the township of Soweto in 2011.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News           

Business in Africa: Kenya and Uganda Call for Private Investors to help build their petroleum pipeline

Kenya and Uganda CallED for Private Investors to help build their petroleum pipeline

Kenya and Uganda Called for Private Investors to help build their petroleum pipeline

The East Africa countries of Kenya and Uganda have published a joint call for private investors to help build their petroleum pipeline for the two countries in a form of partnership as effort in finding oil increases in East Africa.

The new pipeline is estimated to be 352km from Eldoret in Kenya to the Ugandan capital Kampala and is expected to cost in the region of $300 million.

Several newspapers published yesterday that the governments of the two countries have decided to jointly invite bids from private companies to become partners in financing this huge project.

“The pipeline will interconnect with the existing 14-inch diameter pipeline running from Nairobi to Eldoret and should be able to transport products to and from Kampala, Uganda and Eldoret, Kenya including spur line in Jinja,” the statement from the two countries said.

“The project will also include a common user depot at the pipeline terminal in Kampala,” the statement added.

This new pipeline will ensure a more stable, safe and efficient method of transporting fuel, while also cutting the significant transport costs involved in over-land delivery by heavy duty trucks.

There has been increasing attention on East Africa by the international community in recent months, as a string of oil deposits have been discovered in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

Industry players are now vying for positions in the development of the new finds – as testing of reserves is ongoing, although production has not yet commenced.

The latest call for bids comes after plans for the construction of the pipeline have already seen significant delays, having been granted to Libyan company Tamoil in 2007, but revoked again in September 2012 due to lack of progress and substantial delays.

Many analysts in East Africa believe that foreign investors should be given the contract to help open the East Africa economy to foreign investors to increase their Foreign Direct Investment.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa Business News       

 

 

 

 

Mali Conflict: Malian and French troops capture Timbuktu from Islamist Fighters

The acient town of Timbuktu has been taken by Malian and French forces

The ancient town of Timbuktu has been taken by Malian and French forces

The Malian government has announced that the French-led troops in Mali have entered the historic city of Timbuktu in their quest to recapture the country from Islamist Fighters from the north.

Source from the Malian military says the joint troops encountered no resistance as they headed towards the city which suggests that the Islamist fighters have indeed abandoned the city for the desert.

Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande stated on French State Television France24 that the joint forces are winning this battle.

French and Malian troops have been pushing north in their offensive against Islamist rebels over the weekend and have taken northern towns of Hombori, Gao and now Timbuktu.

Once Timbuktu is secured, the French-led troops are expected to focus on the last rebel stronghold, Kidal, near the border with Algeria.

Once Kidal is taken by the joint force, the first phase of the French operation will be over and it is expected that African and Malian troops will take over.

The second phase will be to track down the militants to their desert hideouts to neutralize the Islamist Fighters from staging a comeback.

But some experts in conflict like this one say the Malian and the French government should be careful since the Islamist Fighters might have withdrawn on strategic grounds only to counter attack after they have seen that the joint forces have relaxed.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News                                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

African Cup of Nations: Ghana takes on Cape Verde while Mali faces South Africa in quarter finals after they secure qualification from group B

Asamoah Gyan celebrating his opener with Agyemang Badu in their 3-0 victory over Niger in Port Elizabeth

Asamoah Gyan celebrating his opener with Agyemang Badu in their 3-0 victory over Niger in Port Elizabeth

 Port Elizabeth.Ghana eased through to the quarter-finals of the Nations cup by beating Niger 3-0 to finish top of Group B and will now take on Cape Verde on Saturday in Port Elizabeth.

Captain Asamoah Gyan was instrumental throughout the game as he set the Black Stars on their way when he controlled Albert Adomah’s cross and drove home a powerful shot just 6 minutes into the game.

Gyan then turned provider as he crossed for Christian Atsu, who controlled the ball down with his chest before poking it in on the 23rd minutes.

Ghana wrapped up victory on the 49th minutes when Gyan’s header was parried by Daouda Kassaly and John Boye tapped in the rebound from a close range.

It was a comprehensive victory and a solid performance from the Ghana team that went into the game knowing they only needed a draw to make it through to the last eight.

Mali came from behind against DR Congo to earn a point to place second and now takes on the host South Africa in the last eight of the tournament.

Dieumerci Mbokani opened the score sheet from the penalty spot after Yves Diba has been brought down by Mom Sissoko on the 3rd minutes.

But Mali levelled 11 minutes later as Mahamadou Samassa tapped home from Adama Tamboura’s neat pull-back to make it 1-1 for the Malians to earn that crucial point to join Ghana in the last eight of the tournament.

The tournament is reaching its peak moment as the four matches played so far in the last face of the group stages is producing the best of football for African and football enthusiasts to cheer about all over the world.

RESULTS (28TH JANUARY, 2013) GHANA: 3 NIGER: 0           MALI: 1 DR.CONGO: 1

FIXTURES (29TH JANUARY, 2013) BURKINA FASO VS ZAMBIA       ETHIOPIA VS NIGERIA

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa Sports News

Mali Conflict: French and Malian troops target Timbuktu amid African Union commitment to sent more troops to help recapture the country

The French and Malian forces are advancing significantly on the key northern city of Timbuktu

The French and Malian forces are advancing significantly on the key northern city of Timbuktu in Mali

The French and Malian forces are advancing significantly on the key northern city of Timbuktu, as they press on with their offensive against Islamist rebels in the north of the country.

Goa which is one of the key towns in the north was sized by French and Malian troops in their offensive assaults against Islamist fighters in the north over the weekend.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Malian and French troops would arrive near Timbuktu soon.

He said they have secured Gao – northern Mali’s most populous city- after the Special Forces captured the airport and a strategic bridge to the south.

Analysts say the Islamist Fighters are taking refugee in the desert which will make it difficult for the joint force to pursue them in the desert but are quite happy that they are leaving the towns for the French and Malian forces.

In a related development to the conflict, Africa Union leaders met in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa over the weekend and pledged their support to the Malian people.

The Outgoing AU chairman Boni Yayi commended France for its military intervention, saying it was something the African Union should have done a long time ago to defend a member country.

The leaders of the continent also revealed their plan of making an African Standby Force operational in Mali soon.

They then pledged unanimously nearly 5,700 troops to support French and Malian forces in their campaign.

On the sidelines of the Addis Ababa summit, the EU pledged 50m euros (£42.6m) to boost the multinational force, saying further 250m euros of development money would also be made available to the body.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News           

Africa Cup of Nations: Cape Verde Beat Angola to join host South Africa to quarter-finals

Coach Lucio Antunes running with his country's flag dedicated their historic passage to the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals to the inhabitants of his homeland

Coach Lucio Antunes running with his country’s flag dedicated their historic passage to the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals to the inhabitants of his homeland

Tournament debutants Cape Verde Islands saw off a relatively uninspiring side of Angola 2-1 to qualify to the last eight of the African Cup of Nations at the Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth on Sunday night football in Africa.

Cape Verde which is located in west of Senegal on the Atlantic Ocean is a group of 10 Islands in West Africa with less than 1 million population and their qualification seems a surprise to football pundits in Africa even judging from the background that this is their first ever Nations cup in their football history.

Cape Verde were trailing 1-0 with just nine minutes of their final Group A tie left in Port Elizabeth which many thought Angola has sealed victory.

But the smallest country to ever compete at the Nations Cup staged a dramatic turnaround, with late goals from Gege and Heldon, to spark celebrations among the half a million inhabitants back home.

Coach Lucio Antunes dedicated Cape Verde’s historic passage to the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals to the inhabitants of his homeland.

“My team and I dedicate this victory to the wonderful people of Cape Verde, Our objective at this tournament has been achieved, we wanted to reach the quarter-finals”, coach Antunes said after the game.

Meanwhile, the host South Africa struggled to snatch a point from a high spirited Morocco side to top group A in a 2-2 dramatic comeback.

Issam El Adoua shot Morocco in front with 10 minutes in the game but May Mahlangu curled home in fine style after 71 minutes to restore parity for the host.

Mehdi Namli put Morocco in front again but Siyabonga Sangweni broke North African hearts with a late equaliser in the 86th minutes which eventually knocked out Morocco out of the tournament.

“We feel very, very proud to have achieved our first objective. I must thank the players and the fans.

“Morocco was a very tough team. I do not want to point out mistakes, but we conceded two goals we should not have done. There are now two games to the final and I believe in my players.”

Coach Gordon Igesund of South Africa who was sitting on tenterhooks throughout the game told reporters after the game.

South Africa will now play the team which will place second in group B while Cape Verde takes on the winner of the same group.

RESULTS (27TH JANUARY, 2013) SOUTH AFRICA: 2 MOROCCO: 2            CAPE VERDE: 2 ANGOLA: 1

FIXTURES (28TH JANUARY, 2013) GHANA VS NIGER          DR.CONGO VS MALI

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa Sports News