Mali: A year of clashes and political transition

8th January 2014, Comments 0 comments

Here is a look at developments in Mali since the French army intervened a year ago to fight back Islamic militants who were advancing towards the capital Bamako.

- January 11: The French military launches Operation Serval to support the Malian army and drive back the Islamists, who are pushing south towards Bamako.

Air raids in the centre and north of the country drive Islamists from several strongholds in the north.

- January 26-28: French-led troops recapture the desert towns of Gao and Timbuktu. On the 30th, French forces also retake control of Kidal airport, and troops from Chad arrive to secure the town itself.

- February 18: An offensive is launched to drive Islamists from the mountainous Ifoghas region in the northeast.

Violent clashes oppose French and Chadian soldiers and Islamists. In late February, Islamist leader Abdelhamid Abou Zeid is killed by the French army.

- April 8: Operation Gustav begins, with French troops tracking militants in a valley north of Gao.

- June 18: Malian authorities and Tuareg rebels in Kidal sign a ceasefire agreement.

- July 1: A United Nations peacekeeping force known as MINUSMA takes over command of security duties carried out by an African force, AFISMA.

- August 11: Former prime minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita wins 77.6 percent of the vote in the second round of a presidential election and is subsequently announced as Mali's new head of state.

- September 28: After several months of calm, Al-Qaeda's North African branch AQIM goes back on the offensive. Since then, more than a dozen deaths have been recorded among civilians and military units from Mali and the MINUSMA force.

- October 20: More than 1,500 soldiers from France, Mali and MINUSMA launch Operation Hydra in the north to counter a potential resurgence of "terrorist movements", according to French officials.

- November 2: Two French journalists are killed after being kidnapped in Kidal.

- November 24 and December 15: Keita's party, the Rally for Mali, and its junior partners win an absolute majority in legislative elections.

© 2014 AFP

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