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January 28, 2013

French Forces Advance in Mali

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The ongoing conflict in the North African nation of Mali between the combined Malian and French forces in the south and the Islamist rebel groups in the north is heating up.

Both sides made major hits against the other last week as Islamist forces destroyed a bridge near the Niger border with explosives while French forces advanced on the rebel stronghold city of Gao.

Both sides have been accused of acts of cruelty as well. The Islamists are apparently using very young fighters on the battlefield, while the French International Federation for Human Rights says the Malian army has killed civilians in the ethnic groups associated with the Islamists.


“Listen, it depends on the will of the local population. They have to choose their fate, whether or not to accept the jihadis. It’s hard to fight against a population who is in favor of the jihadis. So the Malian people will decide the future of Mali,” – Commander Sebastien, Operation Serval.

Warm up questions

1. Name some countries in Africa?

2. What is a civil war?

3. What are some ways that colonialism still effects events in former colonies?

Discussion questions

1. Why do you think France has intervened in the situation in Mali? What do you know about colonialism in Africa?

2. Do you think the United States should get involved with the situation? Why or why not?

3. Do you think this conflict is mostly religious, cultural, political or something else? Why?

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