BREAKING: FIFA bars Mali from international football

World football body, FIFA on Friday in Zurich said all of Mali’s football clubs have been suspended from international competitions, after the country’s government interfered in the national association.

FIFA took action after Mali’s sports Minister, Housseini Amion Guindo, decided to replace the executive body of the Malian Football Association FEMAFOOT with a new provisional leadership.

“The suspension will be lifted once ministerial decisions are nullified,’’ it said in a statement.

In the meantime, FEMAFOOT has lost its FIFA membership rights, and the national team and clubs from the West African country are banned from international events.

41 Nigerian girls evacuated from Mali arrive Lagos airport

41 Nigerian human trafficking victims were on Monday evacuated from Bamako, Mail, by the federal government.

The girls arrived Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos aboard a Nigeria air force plane.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, senior special assistant to the president on diaspora matters, and officials of the National Agency for Protection and Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) welcomed the victims back to the country.

Dabiri-Erewa said the victims had sent a distress call to the government, noting that President Muhammadu Buhari had issued a directive to evacuate and rehabilitate any Nigerian stranded outside the country.

She said the girls’ yearn for economic opportunities led them into the hands of those who lured them abroad.

“They were deceived into embarking on the journey. We will ensure we train them to the state of proficiency in different vocations, after which we will trace their parents and counsel them,” Dabiri-Erewa said.

“We will monitor the girls for two years so they do not sell their vocational equipment. It goes beyond poverty for them to embark on such a mission.

“The government had to rescue them because they sent a distress call. This made Buhari direct the service chiefs to wade into the matter to rescue the girls.”

The evacuation was conducted by the ministry of defence, Nigeria air force, office of the senior special assistant to the president on foreign affairs and diaspora and NAPTIP.


Source: The Cable

13 Killed In Central Mali Ethnic Crisis.

At least 13 people were killed in central Mali at the weekend in inter-ethnic clashes between Fulanis and Bambaras, the interior ministry said on Monday, escalating a conflict over resources in a region increasingly outside state control.

Other sources put the death toll much higher, including the head of a Fulani rights group who said that 45 people were killed and that fighting was still going on.

The Fulani, or Peul in French, are a cattle-herding people who have long co-existed peacefully with farmers from Mali’s largest ethnic group, the Bambaras, but economic pressures and Islamist militant infiltration have stoked tensions.

The clashes began when a Bambara storekeeper was killed in a town near Macina, about 300 km (185 miles) northeast of the capital Bamako, said Modibo Dicko, head of a group of associations that defend the rights of Fulanis.

Villagers took up arms the next day and burned down the huts of Fulanis they blamed for his death, he said.

The security ministry said that 13 people had been killed and a number of houses set on fire, but that calm had returned on Monday and security forces were patrolling the area.

But Dicko said at least 45 people were killed and that fighting continued on Monday, with over 100 families having fled by foot and on motorbikes.

“Everyone who didn’t flee was assassinated,” he said.

Kader Ba, a retired politician from Macina, said he had reports that 30 people were killed on Sunday and five on Monday, including at least two who were burned alive. Members of his family were among those killed.

Violence in Mali, once confined to the desert north, has spread south in recent years partly due to jihadist recruitment among the marginalized Fulani based mostly in the center of the country.

Germany to deploy more troops to Mali

Germany’s cabinet on Wednesday approved the deployment of eight attack and transport helicopters as well as 350 additional soldiers to Mali as part of a U.N. peacekeeping mission, sources told Reuters.


The helicopters will replace those of the Dutch army, and the additional troops will service and maintain the fleet.


After the deployment, Germany will have some 1,000 soldiers in Mali taking part in the 15,000-strong U.N. mission that oversees a peace deal agreed in 2015 between the government and rebels.


The additional deployments will have to be approved by the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament.

The four attack helicopters and a similar number of transport machines will stay in Mali until mid-2018.

Some 100 peacekeepers have died in Mali, where France launched a military operation in 2013 to push back Islamists who a year earlier had hijacked an ethnic Tuareg uprising in the north of the country.


The cabinet has also approved the extension of a mission in northern Iraq, where some 150 soldiers have been training Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State. That mandate also requires parliamentary approval.

Mali To Hold Local Polls In November Despite Unrest

Voters in Mali will be asked to go to the polls in local elections across the vast Sahel nation in November, despite the threat of attacks by armed Islamists, the government has announced.

At a meeting led Wednesday by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, the cabinet “adopted a draft decree on convening (the electorate), opening and closing the electoral campaign for … electing local councillors,” an official statement said.

Local councillors and mayors are normally elected for five years in the largely desert west African country, where the last such polls were held in 2009. However, no election was held in 2014 because of insecurity.

Northern and central parts of Mali frequently come under attack by jihadists, despite a peace pact sealed in mid-2015 by the government, armed groups that back it and mainly Tuareg former rebels who battled the army in the north.

The authorities nevertheless decided to call out voters “on Sunday November 20 across the whole of the national territory in order to go ahead with the election of local councillors”, the statement said.

Campaigning will begin on November 4 and close on November 18, the statement added.

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Mali Hotel Attack: How Jihadists Killed Man For Lying About Location Of Air France Staff

Islamic extremists who killed 19 people in a gun attack on a luxury hotel in Mali’s capital on Friday were hunting for Air France staff, a security guard has claimed.
The terrorists shot their way past a five-man security team before turning their weapons on terrified guests at the hotel in Bamako.
One security worker, Kasim Haidara, told The Telegraph that the terrorists were specifically hunting Air France staff – quizzing a man at gunpoint about their location.
He said:

“When they got up there, the terrorists asked him: ‘where are the staff of Air
France?’.”He told them that they were on the seventh floor instead, and when they realised later that he had given them wrong information, they came back down and killed him.”

Another one of the guards, Cheick Dabo, said his colleagues had just finished morning prayers and had put away their weapons – a shotgun and two pistols – when the militants struck.
He said:

“We didn’t see the jihadists until they started firing on us. We weren’t concentrating and we didn’t expect it.

Mohammed Coulibaly, a cook at the hotel.

“I was busy cooking when a waitress started screaming at the door, ‘They are attacking us, they are attacking us’,”
“I asked everyone to go into the hallway, so everyone headed in that direction. Suddenly we heard the footsteps of the jihadists behind us and there was total panic, and people were running in every direction.

 Mr Coulibaly said he then hid in a bathroom with one of the guests, but one of the assailants saw him through a window and started firing, prompting him to run to the kitchen where he was nearly overwhelmed by smoke.

 I realised that if I didn’t leave the kitchen the smoke would kill me. So I waited until I didn’t hear any noise and I ran from the kitchen and escaped the hotel through a window.”

80 Mali Hotel Hostages Freed, Say Attackers Spoke English

Eighty hostages have been freed from the Hotel attack in Mali. Those freed include three Turkish Airlines staff, 12 Air France staff and Guinean singer Sekouba Bambino

Three people reported to have been killed, as Malian soldiers stormed the hotel.

Mali’s president cut short his visit to Chad and Reuters news agency is reporting that a hostage who was freed from the Radisson Blu in Mali’s capital, Bamako, says that he heard the attackers were speaking English.

Credit: BBC

Mali Attack: Gunmen Take 170 Hostages At Bamako Hotel

Security sources says hostages who were able to quote the Qur’an have been released, as US embassy in Bamako advises citizens to seek shelter.
At least two private security guards were injured in the attack, the hotel’s head of security said.Malian army commander Modibo Nama Traore said 10 gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu hotel shouting “Allahu Akbar” before shooting at guards and taking hostages.Some hostages, including those able to recite verses of the Qur’an, were later released, security sources told Reuters. A security source told AFP that the gunmen were “jihadis” and entered the hotel compound in a car that had diplomatic plates.
“It’s all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor,” AFP’s source said.The hotel is just west of the city centre in a neighbourhood that is home to government ministries and diplomats.In a statement the US-based Rezidor group, which owns the hotel, said 140 guests and 30 staff were being held hostage by two gunmen.
“The Rezidor Hotel Group … is aware of the hostage-taking that is ongoing at the property today, 20th November 2015. As per our information two persons have locked in 140 guests and 30 employees,” the company said in a statement quoted by AFP.“Our safety and security teams and our corporate team are in constant contact with the local authorities in order to offer any support possible to re-instate safety and security at the hotel,” it added.The Chinese state news agency Xinhua said several Chinese tourists were among those trapped inside the building.The US embassy in Bamako said in a series of tweets that it was aware of an “ongoing shooter situation” and advised its citizens to seek shelter.

AU defence chiefs meet in Mali over terrorism

African Union chiefs of defence staff and ministers of defence have agreed on the need to enhance cooperation to increase the effectiveness of member states’ action against threats of terrorism.


This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by the Acting Director of Defence Information, Col. Rabe Abubakar. The statement stated that the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, presented Nigeria’s counter-insurgency report at the forum holding in Bamako, Mali.


It said that the meeting would strengthen cooperation in furtherance of multinational approach to fighting against terrorism that was ravaging African regions.


“The meeting is aimed at engendering participants to partner on the enhancement of security cooperation and the conceptualisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahel-Saharan region.


“The meeting will discuss terrorism which has become a global problem and requires collective approach toward addressing the menace.’’


It said the meeting was also focusing on threats posed by Boko Haram in Nigeria and other member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the threats of Al-Shabab in Central Africa.


“This is to promote a shared assessment of the threats and risks in the affected regions.

“The meeting proposes to classify the threats and risks in the regions into four major categories which include Terrorism, Organised crime (Drugs, Arms and Human Trafficking), Illegal Immigration and Separatism.”


It said the meeting marked a new phase in the promotion of regional security and a united front by AU members in the fight against terrorism.


NAN recalls that Olonisakin, since assumption of office, had been working round the clock and collaborating with other countries to tackle insecurity and terrorism in the sub-region.



All Eyes On Malabo For AFCON 2015 Draws Today

All eyes in Africa will be focussed on Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday as the capital of Malabo plays host to the draw for the Africa Cup of Nations just weeks after Morocco were stripped of the right to host the event.

The traditional ceremony to determine the group matchups for the January 17 to February 8 continental showpiece, was initially set for Rabat before Morocco asked for the tournament to be postponed because of the devastating Ebola outbreak which has cost nearly 7,000 lives in west Africa.

Morocco were instead not only stripped of the right to host the tournament but disqualified from the event as Equatorial Guinea, the third highest producer of petrol in Sub-Saharan Africa, stepped in at the final hour to save the day.

Equatorial Guinea, who co-hosted the 2012 event with Gabon, face a race against time to be ready with less than two months until kick-off, and the draw is set to unveil further indications of progress on preparations.

One aspect that hasn’t changed is the format with four groups of four teams drawn in a round-robin first round line-up shared between the cities of Malabo, Bata, Mongomo and Ebebiyin.

– Ivory Coast, Algeria the teams to avoid –

Ironically, Equatorial Guinea will be in the top seeded hat as hosts, just six months after the former Spanish colony were disqualified from qualifying after fielding an ineligible player during a preliminary round fixture against Mauritania.

They will joined, as one of the top four seeds, by four-time champions Ghana, 2012 African winners Zambia and the Ivory Coast.

The ‘Elephants’ of the Ivory Coast, who lost finals in 2006 and 2012 and also reached the semi-finals in 2008, remain a formidable force as the seedings were determined by previous CAN results.

Their glory teams of the past have undergone several changes in recent years as they turn to life without retired legend Didier Drogba and now lean on the coaching leadership of dashing Frenchman Herve Renard who led Zambia to their first title three years ago.

Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Roma striker Gervinho are key players for the Ivory Coast with a strong cast of talent in place to support the 1992 champions.

Holders Nigeria and seven-time champions Egypt failed to qualify leaving Algeria the danger team from hat number two alongside 2013 finalists Burkina Faso, Mali and Tunisia.

The ‘Desert Foxes’ of Algeria reached the second round of the World Cup for the first time this year, and are chasing a second African title after their only success on home soil in 1990.

The country are enjoying a purple patch with top club ES Setif recently winning the African Champions League and the CAN providing a serious opportunity to increase their flourishing international reputation.

On paper, hat number four appears stronger than the third set of teams with former giants Senegal, Cameroon and Guinea joining the Congo while Cape Verde, South Africa, Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo complete the 16-nation line-up in pot three.

Cameroon, now without former captain Samuel Eto’o, failed to qualify in 2012 and 2013 which dropped their ranking while Senegal have failed to get past the first round since 2006.

The ‘Indomitable Lions’ of Cameroon, won the last of their four African titles in 2002, when they defeated a Senegal team making their lone appearance in the championship match.

2015 CAN draw:

Pot 1: Equatorial Guinea (hosts), Ghana, Ivory Coast, Zambia

Pot 2: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Tunisia

Pot 3: Cape Verde, South Africa, Gabon, DR Congo

Pot 4: Cameroon, Senegal, Guinea, Congo

Source –

Terrorists in Mali Kill Two Children, Abduct 10

Suspected Islamist fighters kidnapped 10 children and killed two others who tried to escape near two towns in Mali on Saturday, capping a week of violence in the West African country’s desert north, a senior Malian military official said.

Lieutenant Colonel Diaran Kone, an official at Mali’s defence ministry, said Saturday’s incident occurred in the morning at settlements outside the towns of Aguelhoc and Kidal.

“It was a forced recruitment of child soldiers,” he told Reuters. “Twelve were kidnapped. They shot and killed two who tried to escape.”

The raids came the day after a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a phosphate mine in the town of Bourem without causing any other casualties, according to a government statement on Friday.

The bodies of two Tuareg separatist militants were found near the village of Takabort, around 40 km (25 miles) outside Kidal on Thursday.

“We found them with their throats slit like sheep,” Algabass Ag Intalla, head of the Tuareg High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA), told Reuters. “They were both HCUA militants. Investigations are under way to find out who did this.”

A third round of peace negotiations began in Algiers on Thursday between the Malian government and a grouping of mostly Tuareg rebel groups, who split with their former Islamist allies ahead of the French offensive.

The talks are meant to decide on the status of the north in the aim of ending decades of uprisings there that have destabilised the entire country.

Credit: Yahoo News

New Ebola Death hits Mali as Liberia Hails Drop in Cases

A second person from Mali has died from Ebola, just as hardest-hit Liberia hailed a dramatic drop in infections and the last-known sufferer in the United States was declared cured.

The death of a nurse who had treated an Ebola patient from neighbouring Guinea came as a blow to authorities in Mali, just as they were beginning to lift quarantine restrictions on more than 100 people exposed to the country’s first victim of the virus.

The nurse had treated a Guinean patient at a clinic in the capital Bamako who was suffering from kidney failure and later died, medical sources said late Tuesday. Authorities now believe he had Ebola.

The case has raised fears of further contamination in Mali as the infection was unrelated to the country’s only other Ebola fatality, that of a two-year-old girl.

In Liberia there was better news as assistant health minister Tolbert Nyenswah said new cases had dropped from a daily peak of more than 500 to around 50, confirming tentative announcements by experts worldwide of an apparent slowdown in the epidemic.

“The numbers of cases are reducing,” he told AFP, although he added that new cases were still emerging across the country.

Credit: AFP

Mali due to Declare 108 Ebola-free after Quarantine

Mali is preparing to release 108 people from Ebola quarantine in a tentative step toward declaring it has contained an outbreak.

Mali became the sixth West African country to report a case of Ebola when a 2-year-old girl died last month, leading to an urgent search for anyone who may have been infected during her 1,200-km bus trip from Guinea to the Malian town of Kayes.

The Malian Ministry of Health is expected to confirm later on Monday that 29 people who may have had contact with her during a two-hour stopover in Bamako, along with 12 people in Kayes, can be released from a 21-day quarantine on Tuesday.

A further 67 contacts, including three relatives who traveled with her and 33 healthcare workers, are due to be given the all clear on Saturday.

“If all goes well, by this Saturday all 108 contacts we were following up will be safe and will have completed their 21 days,” WHO representative Ibrahima Soce Fall said.

Two further contacts who got off the bus in a village called Niamiga have been traced to Paris and Dakar and are still being monitored, a WHO spokesman said. They are thought to be at low risk, as are about 37 contacts who have not been traced.

If there are no new cases, Mali will be declared Ebola free on Dec 6, twice the maximum incubation period for the disease.

“We need to remain vigilant and to strengthen surveillance and the capacity to respond to any new cases that might come in as Mali shares an 800-km border with Guinea,” said Fall.

WHO says Monitoring 82 for Ebola in Mali

Health workers are monitoring 82 people who had contact with a toddler who died of Ebola in Mali last week, but no new cases of the disease have yet been reported, World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said on Tuesday.

Three WHO officials are already in the country, having traveled to Mali a week ago to test its Ebola preparedness, and five more are arriving, Jasarevic said.

Mali became the sixth West African country to report a case of the disease, and health officials want to try to contain the virus before it can spread out of control.

First Ebola Case in Mali, on 2 Yr Old

Mali confirmed its first case of Ebola late Thursday, making it the sixth West African country to get the disease this year. The BBC has reported that the case involves a 2-year-old girl.

The World Health Organization has not yet analyzed and confirmed the case. But it’s not especially surprising that the virus has spread to Mali given the country shares a border with Guinea, where the outbreak originated and continues to spread out of control.

Mali — along with the the Ivory Coast — has been considered by the World Health Organization one the countries at greatest risk of getting Ebola. Reuters reported that Mali and Ivory Coast were “the top priorities on the WHO’s list of 15 African countries that need to be prepared for an Ebola case.”


UN Troops Hit by Another Deadly Attack in Mali

 A Senegalese peacekeeper was killed on Tuesday as a UN camp in northern Mali came under rocket fire in an attack blamed on a jihadist leader driven from the country by French troops. The strike came just as the UN vowed to bolster defences for its troops in Mali after suffering its deadliest attack on Friday — an ambush by Al-Qaeda-linked militants that claimed nine peacekeepers’ lives.

“This is no longer in the context of maintaining peace,” said Herve Ladsous, the UN’s head of peacekeeping operations, as he announced deployments of drones and armoured vehicles.

“We are required to take a series of measures … to toughen up our bases, and boost our protection,” he said at a press conference after a attending the nine peacekeepers’ funeral in Mali’s capital Bamako.

As he spoke, the UN mission came under a fresh attack, this time blamed on Iyad Ag Ghaly, who led a Tuareg rebellion in the Sahara before setting up the armed group Ansar Dine.

The jihadist had disappeared in January 2013 soon after France intervened to drive Islamist insurgents back from Bamako but resurfaced last month to issue a video message signalling his return to combat.

He said his group was “ready to unite with our brothers on the ground to face up to the crusaders and infidels who have united to fight Islam in our land”.

“The Malian Islamist Iyad Ag Ghaly has carried out his threat by attacking the camp of the UN mission in Kidal,” a source from the UN’s MINUSMA force in Mali told AFP.

The source said at least five rockets were fired and added that the “provisional death toll” was one peacekeeper, giving his nationality as Senegalese.

A resident of Kidal contacted by AFP by telephone confirmed the information.

“The camp was attacked, we heard loud noises. It’s rockets. It’s dark here now and we don’t know what is happening,” he said.

In New York, the UN Security Council condemned the attack and called on Bamako to launch an investigation and “bring the perpetrators to justice”.


At Least Nine UN Peacekeepers killed in Mali Ambush

Suspected Islamists killed at least nine United Nations peacekeepers from Niger on Friday in northeastern Mali, in the deadliest ever attack on the mission, military sources said.

MINUSMA did not immediately hold any armed group responsible, but a Nigerien officer from the mission told AFP the attack had been carried out by the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), an Al-Qaeda-linked militia behind numerous attacks in recent years.

“This morning, a convoy of MINUSMA peacekeepers from the Nigerien contingent was the target of a direct attack while travelling to Indelimane, in the Menaka-Asongo corridor. A provisional toll indicated nine deaths,” a statement from the UN mission said.

“This is to date the deadliest attack against the UN mission in Mali,” the statement said, adding that aircraft had been deployed to secure the area.

Arnauld Akodjenou, the deputy head of the mission, said he was “horrified” by the “cowardly” attack.

“Once again, lives have now been lost in the name of peace in Mali. These crimes must not go unpunished,” he said in the statement.

“This violence must stop immediately and MINUSMA again challenges all those involved in finding solutions for sustainable peace to take responsibility for a rapid resolution of the crisis that has lasted too long.”

The Nigerien MINUSMA source said MUJAO had formed an alliance with militants from the Fulani ethnic group in the Gao region where the attack took place.

“The terrorists had threatened to carry out attacks, attacks in the run-up to the feast of Tabaski. They’ve just carried them out,” added a Malian military source, using the west African name for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha taking place on Sunday.

 Menaka, an isolated Sahara desert town in eastern Mali crisscrossed by seasonally dry riverbeds, is used mainly as a temporary home by nomadic Tuareg tribes.

Militants Decapitate Tuareg Man in Mali

A Malian security source said on Wednesday that suspected Al Qaeda-linked militants in northern Mali have decapitated a Tuareg hostage seized last week for purportedly acting as an informer for French forces in the region.

Residents of the village of Zouera, some 80 km (50 miles) north of Timbuktu, said the man’s head had been found, and four other Tuareg men, taken with him last week, had been released. The man’s family said they had recovered the rest of his body. They gave no further details.

Witnesses last week said that a group of heavily armed men on pickup trucks had kidnapped the Tuaregs, including an elder of the Kel Ansar tribe.

The security source, who asked not to be named, said the kidnappers were believed to be members of the Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the north African branch of the armed Islamist movement.

He said the kidnapped Tuaregs were suspected of acting as intelligence agents for some 3,000 French forces as they mount a counter-terrorist operation in the Sahel region including Mali and neighboring countries.