Mali

The international drugs trade returns to post-war Mali

International— Report

Since the retreat of jihadist forces from northern Mali, and the winding down this year of the French military campaign that forced them out of the area, drugs trafficking has regained its lucrative path across the Sahel region, en route to Europe. Thomas Cantaloube reports from Mali on how the drugs trade has become a major cause of corruption in both the former French colony and the wider region of West Africa, where the transit of drugs is now joined by a dangerous and growing new phenomena, that of drug consumption.

Malian government confirms prisoners released for freeing of French hostage

International— Link

A Malian government spokesman said four men were freed in exchange for the release of Serge Lazarevic by al-Qaida's North African branch.

Plus ça change…the stark reality of Mali's bright new future

International— Analysis

Eighteen months ago Mediapart reported from Mali on its attempts to rebuild itself after France's military intervention to thwart an imminent terrorist takeover. At the time there was cautious optimism within the fractured African country that it could construct a more positive future. Now Mediapart has returned to Mali and the mood is very different. The cautious hopes about the future have largely given way to frustration amid the return of old-style politics and corruption. Meanwhile the country remains under the effective control of international institutions and foreign countries. As Thomas Cantaloube reports from the capital Bamako, the lack of real progress in Mali also symbolises a French vision of foreign affairs that is strong on military intervention but short on political content.

French forces kill senior jihadi in northern Mali

International— Link

Ahmed al-Tilemsi was a commander of the al-Mourabitoun Islamist group and took part in the 2011 kidnapping of French nationals.

Was French hostage swapped for detained jihadists?

France— Link

Disquiet in Mali that French hostage Serge Lazarevic was freed in exchange for release of a notorious Malian 'terrorist'.

Last French hostage freed in Mali

France— Link

Release of Serge Lazarevic after being held by Islamists for three years means there are now no more French hostages anywhere in world.

French forces say 24 extremists killed in Mali operation

France— Link

The operation in the Kidal region, which cost the life of one French soldier, weakened terrorist networks in north of the country, says army.

Campaign to mark anniversary of murder of two French journalists in Mali

France— Link

Broadcasters who employed the reporters, who were killed doing their job, launch campaign for end to impunity for crimes against journalists.

France 'slowly reclaiming its old African empire'

International— Link

More than 50 years after granting its colonial empire independence, it seems Paris cannot keep its nose out of Africa, argues Newsweek's Brian Eads.

Tenth French soldier dies in fighting in Mali

International— Link

Thomas Dupuy, a sergeant from a commando parachutist unit in the air force, reportedly died in a fierce clash with Islamist militants.

Cash-strapped France struggling to fund its military campaigns abroad

France

The French government last week announced major cuts in defence spending which include the axing next year of 7,500 jobs in its armed forces, the subsequent closure of several military bases, the scrapping of an artillery regiment and the decommissioning of several warships. "The sovereignty of our country depends as much on tackling our public accounts as on our defence," said defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian as he detailed the cull on October 15th. But the minister is also under intense pressure over the massive, budget-busting spending of ongoing French military operations abroad, principally in West and Central Africa, and now also against Islamic State militants in Iraq. Lénaïg Bredoux reports on the opaque funding of the campaigns, including the indirect contribution of the French education ministry, and Le Drian’s controversial and urgent plans to set up public-private partnerships to finance French defence procurement through leasing deals.

France 'will have to pay US' for military aid in Africa

International— Link

US defence officials say they will ask for cost of helping France fight insurgents in Sahel region of Africa to be 'reimbursed'.

No 'clear cause' found for Air Algérie crash over Mali

International— Link

French investigators into the July crash of Algiers-bound flight that left 116 dead say 'nothing tells us we can rule out or confirm terrorism'.

France bombs Islamist militant positions in Mali

International— Link

French air strikes targeted Islamist positions in northern Mali, west of the city of Timbuktu where an airport came under attack last month.

Wreckage of crashed Air Algérie flight 'found in northern Mali'

International— Link

Malian president says remains of the plane on loan to Air Algérie, carrying more than 50 French nationals, was found in remote desert region.