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Broken north undermines Keita's pledge of strong, united Mali

By Emma Farge BAMAKO (Reuters) - President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won power with a pledge to resurrect a "strong and united" Mali from the ashes of a war against Islamists militants yet six months later he has done little to heal the wounds of the conflict. Elected with a reputation as a strongman, Keita has focused on restoring control over Mali's army after a March 2012 coup. The putsch plunged Mali into chaos that allowed Islamists to seize the north, forcing France to intervene in its ex-colony.

French army says 11 militants killed in Mali anti-terror op

A French counter-terrorism offensive in northern Mali's Timbuktu region ended on Friday with 11 Islamist militants killed and a French soldier wounded, military sources inside the operation told AFP. "The French military operation in the Timbuktu region is completed. Eleven terrorists were killed. A French soldier was wounded but his life is not in danger," said an official from France's Operation Serval military mission in its former colony. sd/mrb/ft/jhb

French army says 11 militants killed in Mali anti-terror op

A French counter-terrorism offensive in northern Mali's Timbuktu region ended on Friday with 11 Islamist militants killed and a French soldier wounded, military sources inside the operation told AFP. "The French military operation in the Timbuktu region is completed. Eleven terrorists were killed. A French soldier was wounded but his life is not in danger," said an official from France's Operation Serval military mission in its former colony. sd/mrb/ft/jhb

Mali election campaign falls flat in Timbuktu

The presidential poll in the fabled Malian caravan town of Timbuktu is a potent symbol of its progress since it was torn apart by armed Islamists last year -- yet the campaign is leaving most residents cold. With 48 hours until polling opens, would-be voters have been staying away from political rallies and opting out of the nationwide conversation on who should take Mali into a more prosperous and peaceful future.

Mali smashes Islamist cell in Bamako

Malian security services have broken up a cell in the capital Bamako operated by one of the Islamist groups that had controlled northern Mali until a French-led military intervention this year, a police source said Sunday. The security services arrested seven people last month when they smashed the cell belonging to the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, (MUJAO), the source told AFP.

UN concern over Tuaregs, Arabs targeted in Mali

The United Nations on Wednesday expressed concern over continuing violence against ethnic Tuaregs and Arabs in Mali, citing evidence of new rights abuses against the two communities. UN Under Secretary for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said that while "arbitrary acts of violence" against Tuaregs and Arabs had recently slowed, "there is still a risk of reprisal against members of these communities." "Worryingly, it appears from reports that new patterns of human rights violations have emerged, including retaliatory attacks based on ethnicity," Feltman added.

URGENT ¥¥¥ Three Islamists killed in Mali's Timbuktu:

At least three Islamists were killed in Timbuktu on Monday during a sweep by French and Malian soldiers in the northern city after a deadly weekend battle, a military source said. "During our clean-up operation, the Mali and French armies destroyed a public building in the centre of town where the terrorists were hiding. We have found the bodies of three terrorists," the Malian military source told AFP. sd/cs/txw/fb

URGENT ¥¥¥ 2 jihadists killed, 4 Malian troops wounded in Timbuktu

Two jihadists were killed and four Malian troops were wounded in clashes that erupted in the fabled northern city of Timbuktu on Sunday, a Malian army officer said. "Two jihadists have been killed and four Malian soldiers have been injured," the Malian army officer told AFP, adding that the soldiers were supported by French troops and that fighting was ongoing. sd-cs/ln/boc

URGENT ¥¥¥ Suicide attack in Mali's Timbuktu wounds soldier: officer

A suicide bomber blew himself up Saturday at an army barricade in the northern Malian city of Timbuktu, wounding a soldier, a military officer said. "A jihadist suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt after trying unsuccessfully to force his way through the barricade at the west entrance to Timbuktu, which was guarded by Malian soldiers," the officer told AFP by phone. "A Malian soldier was wounded." sd/jhb/jw

Mali soldier killed in first Timbuktu suicide bombing

A Malian soldier died in Timbuktu's first suicide bombing as the city came under assault overnight, triggering clashes in which 10 Islamist fighters died, military officials said Thursday. The bomb went off near the ancient city's airport as a group of armed men clashed with French and Malian soldiers, in an incident that cast doubt on suggestions the Islamist resistance in Mali is close to being quashed.
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