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Three Chadian soldiers killed in Mali suicide bombing

By Cheick Diouara GAO, Mali (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed three Chadian soldiers at a market in the northern Malian town of Kidal on Friday, a Chadian military official and three witnesses said. Chadian and French soldiers have been stationed in the desert town since late January to fight Islamist rebels hiding in the region's mountainous borderlands.

Five Malian soldiers die in helicopter crash

Five Malian soldiers died Friday when their helicopter crashed in the centre of the war-torn west African nation, local government and army sources told AFP. "The crash of a Malian army helicopter killed all five passengers, Malian soldiers. This happened near Sevare. The Malian army is in mourning," a local official from the Mopti regional administration told AFP. A Malian military source confirmed the incident, saying a colonel was among the five dead and the cause was mechanical failure.

Five Malian soldiers die in helicopter crash

Five Malian soldiers died Friday when their helicopter crashed in the centre of the war-torn west African nation, local government and army sources told AFP. "The crash of a Malian army helicopter killed all five passengers, Malian soldiers. This happened near Sevare. The Malian army is in mourning," a local official from the Mopti regional administration told AFP. A Malian military source confirmed the incident, saying a colonel was among the five dead and the cause was mechanical failure. sd/mrb/ft/mfp

EU trainers bring ragtag Malian troops up to speed

At the foot of a hill by the banks of the Niger River a ragtag company of Malian soldiers crouch on the baked earth, Kalashnikov assault rifles poised. This is not real warfare but the beginnings of a near equally daunting exercise, the transformation of a poorly-organised, badly-equipped army into a modern fighting force, capable of taking on the Islamist insurgency raging in Mali's vast desert.

French soldiers sweep rebel stronghold in Malian desert

Under the cover of large acacia trees, the militants' camp was invisible from the sky and had probably been deserted only a few hours before the arrival of French troops. The soldiers had made the discovery on day two of Operation Gustav, a hunt for Islamist fighters in a valley in northern Mali and one of France's largest military operations during its three-month intervention in its former colony.

U.S. wants to support fight against al Qaeda in Mali - senator

By Tiemoko Diallo BAMAKO (Reuters) - The United States will seek ways it can help French and African forces in Mali combat al Qaeda-linked rebels, U.S. Senator John McCain said on Tuesday during a visit to the West African country. France launched a military offensive in Mali in January against Islamist militants threatening the capital. That drove the insurgents out of the towns they had seized, but they have since hit back with suicide attacks and guerrilla-style raids.

EU troops begin Mali training mission

The EU began a top-to-toe overhaul of Mali's ill-prepared, ragtag army on Tuesday to help the west African nation take the place of foreign troops defending it against an Islamist insurgency. The first of 570 Malian troops were due to arrive in Koulikoro, 60 kilometres (37 miles) from the capital Bamako, to train under European instructors as part of a wider effort to bring the army up to scratch as quickly as possible.

Tough EU mission to overhaul Mali army kicks off

The EU begins an ambitious top-to-toe overhaul Tuesday of Mali's ragtag army, far from ready to take the place of foreign troops to defend the West African nation against fresh attacks by Islamist insurgents. As France prepares to withdraw its 4,000 troops after routing Al Qaeda-linked forces from northern cities, the first of four Malian battalions begins training with battle-hardened European instructors on April 2 as part of a wider effort to bring the army up to scratch as quickly as possible.

Malian soldiers get human rights training

Hundreds of troops began human rights lessons Wednesday as part of their training for the Malian army, which is accused of abuses in its battle to flush Islamists out of its northern desert. A group of 300 soldiers were given a manual spelling out the obligation of the front-line trooper to "refrain from the use of his weapon against the civilian population" and "protect and save women and children from attacks".

URGENT ¥¥¥ Seven die in northern Mali clashes: military sources

Seven people, including a soldier and two civilians, were killed in clashes Sunday between the Malian army and Islamist militants in northern Mali's largest city of Gao, military sources said. "A Malian soldier, four Islamists and two civilians were killed Sunday during exchanges of gunfire between the Malian army and Islamists," an African security source told AFP in Gao, after the Malian army earlier said it was carrying out a "clean-up" operation targeting militants who claimed an overnight attack on an army camp. sd-tmo/sd/mfp/jhb
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