Mali Situation Updates: 200 more french soldiers arrived, Britain and US now involved, France tightens Security Level! Heavy bombing in GAO now!

Mali Situation Updates: 200 more french soldiers arrived, military surprised by well-trained, well-equipped and well-armed Islamists

A French helicopter was shot down in Mali, pilot killed

Responding to an urgent plea for help from the Malian government, French troops carried out airstrikes against Islamist fighters, blunting an advance by hundreds of heavily armed extremists, according to French officials and Gen. Carter F. Ham, the top American military commander in Africa. One French helicopter had apparently been downed in the fighting, he said.

Mali war escalates as French battle Islamist militants

The raid early Saturday in Somalia could have been aimed at preventing al-Shabab fighters from harming the kidnapped French security official in reprisal for the French military intervention in Mali. A Somali intelligence official, who insisted on anonymity because he was not allowed to discuss the case with the news media, said the raid in Bulomarer killed “several” al-Shabab fighters but he had no information on the hostage.
An al-Shabab official confirmed the fighting and said the group held one dead French soldier. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
However, the office of Col. Thierry Burkhard, the French military’s main spokesman for overseas operations, said it had no information about any Somalia action.

Read more:

French commandos ‘attack militant base in Somalia’

Al-Shabab militants are believed to be holding a French person hostage.

An al-Shabab spokesman told AFP news agency “several” French soldiers had been killed, in a claim which could not be confirmed independently


France confirms failed Somali hostage rescue

A French hostage kidnapped in Somalia has been killed during a failed rescue operation, the French defence ministry says.

Two French soldiers were also killed during the raid, a defence ministry statement released on Saturday, said. The hostage was reportedly a French special forces officer, who goes by the pseudonym “Denis”.

Additionally 17 Somali fighters were also killed in the fighting between French forces and al-Shabab rebel fighters in southern Somalia.


TWO French soldiers, 17 terrorists killed in Somalia during failed rescue for agent Denis Allex who was kidnapped in Somalia in July 2009.

RT @BreakingNews: French defense ministry says a French hostage and 2 French soldiers were killed during a raid in Somalia – @Reuters

French hostage and soldiers die in raid in Somalia

Two French soldiers and a French hostage have been killed during a failed operation to free him in Somalia, the defence ministry says.

Commandos backed by helicopters reportedly swooped on the southern town of Bulo Marer during the night, targeting al-Shabab militants.

According to the defence ministry, the hostage was killed by his captors.

The raid in east Africa came hours after French troops intervened in the west African state of Mali.

The French military is believed to have been trying to free a French secret agent named as Denis Allex, who was kidnapped in Somalia in July 2009 along with a colleague, freed the following month.

It seems likely that the operation was linked to the intervention in Mali, the BBC’s Hugh Schofield reports from Paris.

The French government knew well the intervention would have dangerous implications for the nine French hostages being held across northern Africa, our correspondent says.

One French helicopter had apparently been downed in the fighting, he said.

Gen. Carter Ham confirmed to the NYT that a French helicopter has been lost in fighting in Mali

Witnesses said four helicopter gunships were used in the raid.
“A French soldier was killed during an exchange of fire, and his body was left by his comrades” after they failed in two attempts to recover it, the spokesman said.


Mali neighbors to send troops against militants

Members of the West African regional bloc ECOWAS are to start sending troops to Mali starting on Monday, an Ivory Coast official said. The soldiers will help the central government in Bamako re-take the northern part of the country from the Islamist insurgents holding it. The news comes shortly after France sent hundreds of its troops to Mali to fight the militants threatening the former French colony.



French troops continue operation against Mali Islamists

French forces have continued to launch air strikes against Islamist militants in Mali and sent troops to protect the capital, Bamako.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said army units had attacked a column of rebels heading towards the central town of Mopti.

He also revealed that a French pilot had been killed in fighting on Friday.


Niger says sending 500 soldiers to Mali operation


MALI UPDATE 3: Konna battle killed ‘around 100’ Islamists: Malian army

Malian troops backed by French gunships killed around 100 Islamist fighters in the battle to recapture the key town of Konna, a senior officer told AFP Saturday.
“We have claimed dozens of casualties, even around 100 among Islamist ranks in Konna,” said Lieutenant Ousmane Fane, from the regional command.


SOMALIA UPDATE 1: 19 killed in failed French raid to free Somalia hostage—killed-in-failed-French-raid-to-f.aspx


Guillaud told reporters extra military planes had been sent to Africa, after strikes had destroyed half a dozen pick-up trucks belonging to the rebels, and that Rafale fighter jets could strike from bases in France.

“We are in the build-up phase of operations … As you know we have planes in Africa and have added more,” he said, adding that there was no plan to send ground troops towards the north. “The quicker the African mission is on the ground, the less we will need to help the Malian army.”–French-army-says-no-current-plan-to-t.aspx


RT @G_Steuer: #Mali French Gazelle hit in Mali was from 4th RHFS, special ops unit of the French Army

4th Special Forces Helicopter Regiment:

Gazelle helicopter:

– Ger_reG