Mali seeks answers after deadly hotel siege

Malian authorities Sunday sought to identify the perpetrators of a hotel siege in the central town of Sevare that ended with the deaths of at least 12 people including five UN workers.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the assault, which began early Friday when gunmen burst into the Hotel Byblos, which is frequented by expatriates.

The Malian army stormed the hotel and brought the siege to an end early Saturday after a drama lasting nearly 24 hours.

The UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said two Ukrainians, a Nepalese and a South African were killed during the siege and subsequent military operation, as well as a Malian driver working for a company contracted by the mission.

An army officer said “five terrorists” were killed in the operation at a time when the region has seen continuing unrest a spike in jihadist attacks.

Both the army and MINUSMA said the death toll could rise.

Residents said the army mounted patrols overnight in the wake of the siege.

Soldiers could be seen in Sevare as well as along the road to the nearby regional capital Mopti, a popular tourist destination and the gateway to Dogon Country, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A Sevare resident told AFP by telephone in Bamako that the night was calm. “People are starting to go about their business. Everything is returning to normal here in Sevare,” he said.

Located some 12 kilometres (seven miles) from Mopti and 620 kilometres northeast of the capital Bamako, Sevare is a key staging post on the road to Mali’s desert north which fell to Islamic extremists in 2012.

A French-led offensive routed Islamist groups from their northern strongholds the following year.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon, France and the United States denounced the hotel attack, which came as Mali is seeking to implement a June peace deal.

Photo Credits : AFP

UN condemns ‘heinous’ Mali attack on peacekeepers

The UN Security Council strongly condemned the “heinous” attack on a UN peacekeeping base in northern Mali on Sunday, warning that those responsible will be held accountable.

A Chadian peacekeeper and two children died when the attackers fired more than 30 rockets at the barracks in the northern city of Kidal in the early morning hours.

In a statement by its 15 members, the Security Council called on the Malian government to swiftly investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The council “stressed that those responsible for the attack shall be held accountable,” and underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes.

The top UN body called on all sides to refrain from actions that could jeopardize peace efforts and reiterated a threat to impose sanctions against those who resume hostilities in Mali.

The attack on the UN base in Kidal came a day after a masked gunman burst into a Bamako nightclub, opened fire and threw grenades, killing five people, including a French national and a Belgian.

It also came a week after the Malian government signed an agreement with some northern armed groups to hand over more authority to northern Mali in a bid to stabilize the region.

The main Tuareg alliance, known as the Coordination, did not sign on to the deal and asked for more time to consult with its grassroot members.

The Security Council and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had both urged the Tuaregs to sign on to the deal, arguing that it represented an important opportunity for peace.

With more than 30 peacekeepers killed since UN troops were deployed in northern Mali in 2013, MINUSMA is considered the UN’s most dangerous mission, with Chad suffering heavy losses.

Islamist militants seized control of northern Mali for more than nine months until a French-led military intervention in 2013 that partly drove them from the region.

Photo Credits : AFP

AFCON 2015: Ghana into semi-finals with Atsu at double

Christian Atsu scored twice as Ghana beat Guinea 3-0 in Malabo on Sunday to ease into their fifth successive Africa Cup of Nations semi-final.

Atsu set the Black Stars on their way to a comfortable quarter-final victory when he opened the scoring in the fourth minute in Equatorial Guinea’s capital, before Kwesi Appiah increased their advantage a minute before the interval.

And Atsu, the winger on loan at Everton from their English Premier League rivals Chelsea, then saw his cross-cum-shot find the net on 61 minutes to take Ghana through to a last-four showdown with the hosts on Thursday.

While Avram Grant’s side keep alive their hopes of a first continental crown since 1982, Guinea’s Cup of Nations adventure ends without them winning a game at the finals.

They also ended the match with 10 men after goalkeeper Naby Yattara was sent off just before the final whistle.

The Syli Nationale only made it into the knockout stage at Mali’s expense via a drawing of lots after drawing all three of their group games, and Michel Dussuyer’s side never looked like causing an upset here.

Ghana took the lead from their first attack, working the ball into the area from the left before Andre Ayew’s backheel allowed Atsu to apply an easy finish.

The onus was now on Guinea to try and find a way back into the match, but they created next to nothing, with stand-in captain Ibrahima Traore unable to influence proceedings from the right flank as he had in the group stage.

With half-time approaching, Yattara in the Guinea goal saved from Asamoah Gyan, but Ghana made it 2-0 shortly after with the help of some dreadful defending.

Appiah, who was preferred to Jordan Ayew in attack, pounced on a poor clearance by Baissama Sankoh and slotted home under Yattara.

There was a clear gulf in class between the teams and Ghana put any doubts as to the final outcome to bed when Atsu struck again just after the hour mark.

Collecting possession wide on the right, he shuffled the ball onto his left foot before whipping what looked to be a cross towards the far post only to see it drop under the bar and into the net.

Guinea’s misery was compounded right at the death when goalkeeper Yattara was shown a straight red card for bringing down Gyan on the edge of the penalty box as the Ghana skipper hurtled towards goal.

Photo Credits : AFP

Gradel strikes late to earn Ivory Coast draw

Substitute Max-Alain Gradel’s late equaliser earned a disjointed Ivory Coast side a 1-1 draw against Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday as the Elephants kept alive their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.

It looked as if Bakary Sako’s superb seventh-minute strike, a contender for goal of the tournament so far, would give Mali a famous first win against their west African neighbours at the continental finals.

But Gradel, who was introduced from the bench in the first half, finished an excellent move with four minutes left to leave Group D wide open.

Both sides had already drawn 1-1 in their first matches, and must now wait to see how Cameroon do against Guinea in the second game of a double-header in Malabo on Saturday evening.

In an effort to kickstart his side’s Cup of Nations campaign, Herve Renard made three changes to his starting line-up after the draw against Guinea, with Seydou Doumbia replacing the suspended Gervinho and Ismael Diomande and Siaka Tiene also being promoted to the starting line-up.

Renard also changed his tactical line-up, opting to play three central defenders with skipper Yaya Toure in a deep-lying midfield role.

But it was a move that failed to pay off and Mali opened the scoring from the game’s first chance, much to the delight of the huge contingent of Eagles fans in the Estadio de Malabo.

When Diomande was robbed of possession in midfield, the ball came out to Sambou Yatabare on the Mali right and his hanging cross towards the back post was met sweetly on the half-volley by the unmarked Sako, whose strike gave Sylvain Gbohouo in goal no chance.

– One sniff –

Just as had happened in their opening game, the Ivorians’ opponents had scored from their first chance, and Renard’s side were again left to chase a game.

Doumbia had one sniff of goal, but couldn’t convert from close range after Wilfried Bony headed a Tiene cross down towards him.

New Manchester City signing Bony then saw his appeals for a penalty fall on deaf ears on 33 minutes after he went down in the area under a Molla Wague challenge, although Ivory Coast came desperately close to equalising from the corner that followed.

Yaya Toure swung the ball into the area and his brother Kolo’s header was instinctively turned against the bar by Mali ‘keeper Soumaila Diakite.

An unhappy Renard wasted no time in changing his approach, with Diomande being hooked off six minutes before the interval and his Saint-Etienne colleague Gradel coming on to join Doumbia and Bony up front.

Still the Ivorians were unable to really trouble the Mali defence, even after goalkeeper Diakite was stretchered off and replaced for the final 18 minutes by Germain Berthe.

The substitute had nothing to do until he had to pick the ball out of his net four minutes from the end.

Gradel slotted home low after Serge Aurier latched on to a defence-splitting Salomon Kalou pass and cut the ball back for the little winger.

Photo Credits : AFP

AFCON 2015: Cameroon earn late point against Mali in 1-1 draw

Cameroon salvaged a 1-1 draw against Mali in their African Nations Cup opener on Tuesday thanks to Ambroise Oyongo’s late equaliser in Malabo.

Oyongo netted six minutes from time to cancel out Sambou Yatabare’s second-half opener to leave all four sides in Group D level after Ivory Coast and Guinea drew 1-1 earlier on Tuesday.

“We got this result with our guts. We were tough mentally. Both teams had their moments,” Cameroon defender Nicolas Nkoulou told Canal Plus. “It’s a tough group so we will be content with this result.”

Mali government, UN declare country Ebola-free

The Malian government and the United Nations on Sunday declared the country free of Ebola after registering 42 days without any new cases of the deadly virus.

“I declare this day… the end of the epidemic of the Ebola virus in Mali,” Health Minister Ousmane Kone said.

Ibrahima Soce Fall, the head of the Malian office of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UMEER), confirmed the country “had come out” of the epidemic.

Photo Credits : AFP

Ebola crisis deepen in Mali

Mali’s emerging Ebola crisis deepened Thursday as the government announced that a doctor had died from the disease, becoming the second health worker fatality linked to a single patient initially thought to have kidney disease.

At least five people now have died from Ebola after coming into contact with a 70-year-old grand imam, who was brought to the Malian capital of Bamako from Guinea, the bordering country where the regional Ebola epidemic first began.

The death of a 25-year-old male nurse at Clinique Pasteur who treated the imam first prompted health authorities to review past patients. The imam’s family members who had brought him to Bamako all were later admitted to an Ebola clinic back in Guinea upon their return.

Malian authorities are now following more than 300 people, including those who helped prepare the imam’s body for burial after he succumbed to the disease.

Health workers have been particularly vulnerable to contracting Ebola because of their close contact with the sick, who spread the virus through bodily fluids such as blood, urine and feces. On Thursday, a Cuban doctor who had contracted the virus in Sierra Leone was flown out of the country en route to treatment in Switzerland.

Source : abcnews 

Mali places almost 600 under Ebola surveillance

Fearful of a surge of Ebola cases, Mali placed nearly 600 people under surveillance, as the country battles to contain the spread of the deadly tropical virus.

Malian officials met on Monday to consider increasing security at its border following two confirmed cases of Ebola due to infection in neighbouring Guinea.

US airports also announced plans to begin enhanced screening of travellers from the west African nation.

Mali has been scrambling to prevent a minor outbreak from turning into a major crisis after the deaths of a Guinean imam and the Malian nurse who treated him in the capital Bamako.


Mali confirms second Ebola death

BBC reports that  a  Malian nurse has died of Ebola, the second confirmed death from the disease in the country.

Officials say the nurse had treated a man who arrived from Guinea at the Pasteur Clinic in Bamako, and the clinic was now in quarantine.

The latest case is unrelated to the first, when a two-year-old girl died from the disease in late October.

Nearly 5,000 people have been killed in the West African outbreak, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a global health emergency.

The new case in Mali comes a day after the WHO confirmed the release from quarantine of 25 of 100 people who were thought to have come into contact with the two-year-old girl who died on 24 October.

Source :BBC

Wreckage of missing Air Algeria Plane found in Mali

                                                                                          Image of md-83, similar to ill fated plane. File Photo courtesy

The wreckage of the Air Algerie plane that went missing on Thursday morning after takeoff from Burkina Faso has been found in Mali.

The plane with 100 passengers and 6 crew members on board was bound for Algiers but fell off the radar 50 minutes after takeoff from Ouagadougou.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane after pilots reported severe storms.

The McDonnell Douglas MD-83 – Flight AH 5017 – had been chartered from Spanish airline Swiftair.

The plane was carrying 50 French nationals, 24 Burkina Faso nationals, six Lebanese, five Canadians, four Algerians, two Luxemburg nationals, one Swiss, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian and one Malian.