- By Department of Monitoring, Kavkaz Center
The Mujahideen of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA) sent reinforcements to the fighters of the joint Islamic Coalition of Azawad to the front line in central Mali (see map) for retention of the city of Kona, Sahara Media reportswithout giving any details.
The news agency also reports that a war plane of French invaders bombed a military base of the Mujahideen in the town of Lere (see map) on Saturday. Material damage has been reported, however the Mujahideen did not suffer any casualties. It is known that the base was taken over by Islamic fighters a few days ago after militants from the nationalist “Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MPLA)” had fled to an area closer to the border with Mauritania.
The AP, referring to admiral Edouard Guillaud, reported that the Mujahideen managed to shoot down a French helicopter eliminating at least one enemy pilot.
Sahara Media specifies that the combat aircraft belonged to French special forces. What happened to the rest of the crew and the helicopter itself is unknown. Later, pt became known that a 2nd invaders helicopter was shot down killing both enemy pilots.
The CNN, referring to French defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, reports that a clash had occurred during the aerial air raid of the invaders on a convoy of Mujahideen heading towards the city of Mopti. Several hundred French invaders are now reportedly deployed in the capital Bamako.
“France will do all it can to combat the jihadist groups who have launched this offensive in recent days”, said Le Drian. France has been in contact with American defence minister Leon Panetta, he said.
Meanwhile, the Reuters’ report about the fall of Kona has been refuted, local puppets said that the city is under the control of the Islamic Coalition.
“It is too early to speak about full recovery of the control over the city as we do not yet control it”, said Malian puppet colonel, Diarran Kone.
For its part, as reported by the AP, the spokesman of Ansar al-Din, Sanda Ould Bouamama, said he did not have information on the situation in Kona due to the lack of connection:
“I cannot tell you if our fighters are still in the city of Kona or if they are not, because since yesterday afternoon, I have no contact with them as the telephone network has been down in this zone”, said Sheikh Ould Bouamama on Saturday.
“While Dioncounda Traore asked for help from France, we ask for guidance from Allah and from other Muslims in our sub-region because this war has become a war against the crusaders”, he said by telephone from Timbuktu
On Saturday, the ringleader of the regional group ECOWAS told on deployment of African invader forces in Mali, but he did not disclose the number of these thugs.
Meanwhile, Burkina Faso, previously acted as a mediator in negotiations between the Mujahideen of Ansar al-Din and regional forces and manifested false friendliness to the Islamic movement, declared that it would send an army battalion consisted of 500 bayonets to support the Malian puppets.
According to Burkina Faso, the Mujahideen advance on positions of the puppet regime is allegedly a “breach of a treaty”, although the first who breached the treaty were exactly the puppets in Bamako, who, despite the start of negotiations with Ansar al-Din, appealed to notorious “united nations” to deploy troops in Mali. It is also to be recalled that the ringleader of the ruling regime, Traorem, issued threats against the Mujahideen in his “New year address to the nation”, promising to “eliminate terrorists”. It was after this speach that Emir of Ansar al-Din, Iyad Ag Ghaly, refused to hold any further talks with the so-called “Mali government”.
Meanwhile, the commander of French invaders, admiral Edouard Guillaud claims that France allegedly wants only to stop the advance of the Mujahideen, and there are no plans to invade northern Mali (Azawad).
“France is acutely concerned about the situation in Mali. These new developments are particularly alarming, as they further demonstrate the state of Malian military and a deterioration in the security situation even in parts of the country under the government control”, said Andrew Lebovich, a CIA expert on “jihadi groups”, whose office is based in Senegal.
Analysts believe that if the Mujahideen could retain their positions, defeat French and African invaders and liberate the strategically important city of Sevare with a key military base of the puppets and the only airport in central Mali, capturing Azawad would be almost impossible.
“If the Islamists take over this region, it would be a major, major blow to already very weakened Mali”, said Rudy Atallah. Media called him “an analyst who has extensive experience in the region and served as Africa counter terrorism director in the American foreign ministry”.
“Sevare hosts the 62nd motorized regiment of the 6th Military region. It also hosts Mali’s elite fighting force”.
For his part, analyst M. Goldberg notes that international invaders first thought that could be freely deployed in Bamako and Mopti until September and start training local military puppets, which would be followed by solving the political crisis in Bamako and election of a new “government”, and also by an attempt to convince “radical”, but ready-for-talks Mujahideen of Ansar al-Din to sever ties with al-Qaeda and to shape their ideology into “a moderate position”. Then, “real fighting” had to start.
“It seems that Ansar Dine has pushed up this timetable, says Goldberg. – The “security council” was united over the idea that a kind of international military intervention was necessary … Even organizations like the International crisis group and Refugees international conceded that some kind of intervention was necessary.
However, there were grave concerns that a poorly planned intervention would be worse than no intervention at all. What happens next is hard to predict. Presumably, the French forces are deployed to protect and prevent the fall of Mopti and nearby towns. I would doubt that we’ll see an offensive operation heading too far north”, says Goldberg.