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U.S. restores recovering Mali to privileged partner status

The United States has restored privileged partner status to Mali as reward for the strife-torn country’s gradual return to democracy, the White House said in a statement on Monday. The decision was revealed in the annual revisions to the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which takes into account improvements…

U.S. military plans to build drone base in North Africa: official

The US military plans to set up a base for drones in northwest Africa to bolster surveillance of Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the region as well as allied Islamist extremists, a US official told AFP on Monday. The base for the robotic, unmanned aircraft would likely be located in Niger, on…

Mali slips into chaos as world gropes for response

Fears mounted Thursday that Al Qaeda-linked Islamists were turning Mali into a rogue state despite the announcement by Tuareg rebels that their 10-week military offensive was complete. As the Tuareg trumpeted the success of a decades-old struggle to “liberate” their homeland, their fundamentalist comrades-turned-rivals began imposing sharia in northern Mali, also leaving an…

Mali’s Tuareg rebels take legendary town of Timbuktu

Mali’s Tuareg rebels claimed control of the legendary desert town of Timbuktu on Sunday, part of a dramatic push across the north, as the disorganised junta indicated it was ready to cede some power. Tuareg rebels assisted by Islamist fighters have swept across much of northern Mali since renegade soldiers…

U.S. suspends Mali aid after coup

WASHINGTON — The United States said Monday it was suspending tens of millions of dollars in aid to Mali after a coup in the African nation last week, and called for the elected government to be restored. “We have now taken the decision to suspend our assistance to the government…

Mali soldiers claim to have seized power

Renegade Mali soldiers on Thursday claimed they had seized power from an “incompetent regime,” announcing on television they had suspended the constitution and dissolved state institutions. The putschists, calling themselves the National Committee for the Establishment of Democracy, said they had acted due to government’s “inability” to handle a Tuareg-led…

Up to 40,000 children mine gold in Mali: rights group

BAMAKO — Between 20,000 and 40,000 children work in artisanal gold mines in Mali, Africa’s third-largest producer of the precious metal, Human Rights Watch said in a report Tuesday. In a statement, HRW said that “children as young as six dig mining shafts, work underground, pull up heavy weights of…

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