Sunday, January 27, 2013

TOOTHLESS IN TIMBUKTU

OPSERVALSITREP #XX012A://
SOURCES-TRANSLATED--//TODAY//
RECENTLY RELEASED--1600PST--




 
 
THE  DILEMMA NOW FACING REBELS:
 
TRANSLATED SOURCE #001:
 
"the Islamists came into town with peanuts, cookies and other treats trying to buy public opinion. Soon they found themselves surrounded by French-Malian forces and beat a hasty retreat out into the desert, abandoning their weapons, vehicles and riding away on camels to hide in caves.."
 
TRANSLATED SOURCE #002:
 
"lost their knee high pantaloons, shaved their beards, dropped their weapons,  bought Hawaiian shirts and tried to blend in with the public at large..."

TRANSLATED SOURCE #003:

"the march on Konna at the outset of the conflict by a 300-strong caravan of jihad Toyota technicals bristling with machine guns and AA weapons in the pickup beds turned out to be a turkey shoot for the French AF which swooped out of the sky from Chad and decimated the column..."

AS REPT. BY :MILBUR//HQ//S2//DIV001/01/28/2013/
0000PST/CAL/DIST/NORML...


 
 
 
 
 
 

SERVAL GROUND OPS REPORT:

BULLETIN//ABAMAKO-TRANSLATED--//TODAY//
RECENTLY RELEASED--1400PST--



OFFICIAL FRENCH MILITARY STATEMENT:

"operations conducted in
the depth of the enemy continued with particular
strengthening the position of Gao, in particular by an armored squadron of
GTIA 21st RIMa by the Malian armed forces and several units
African (Niger, Chad). "" Currently, the Malian armed forces have
foothold in Gao. "
The Ministry ensures that when making the airport Gao and bridge
Niger on Saturday, "several terrorist groups have been destroyed or
driven northward. "

 "On the west side of the device, the detachment consists of GTIA 21st
RIMa and `units Mali continues its progress towards Timbuktu
after 48h recognition from Léré offensive, "says Defence.
In Bamako, the Ministry states that "In the last 36 hours,
dozen jumbo issued equipment and vehicles for the operation `
Serval, enabling notably to the rise in logistics
power. "
The French forces on Malian soil `s now stands at 2,900
men, the ministry said, adding that the African contingents
Support international mission in Mali (Misma) and Chad "totaling more
2,700 military. "








THIS IS CERTAINLY THE CLEAREST OFFICIAL PICTURE PAINTED YET AS TO THE  STATUS QUO IN THE TWO AREAS OF OPERATION, THE EAST, OR GAO; AND THE WEST, TIMBUKTO. APPARENTLY THE UNIT THAT MADE HEADWAY INTO TIMBUKTU MAY HAVE COME FROM LERE FOLLOWING ON THE HEELS OF REBELS WHO RETREATED FROM DIABALY.

IT IS ALSO NOTEWORTHY THAT ADVANCING FRIENDLIES KNOW FOR CERTAIN THE ENEMY BEAT A HASTY RETREAT NORTH FROM GAO. 

AN UNCONFIRMED REPORT BY AN EMBEDDED REPORTER ALSO NOTED THAT NIAFUNKE HAD BEEN ABANDONED BY ENEMY CONTINGENTS THAT TOOK REFUGE IN CAVES AND PARKED THEIR VEHICLES, IN NUMBER UP TO 40, IN THE CAVES.


S2....DIST.CHANNELS, UNCLASSIFIED///CODE 500A


BULLETIN//ABAMAKO-TRANSLATED--//TODAY//
RECENTLY RELEASED--1400PST--


FRENCH AF MISSES REBEL VILLA

BULLETIN//AFP--//TODAY//
RECENTLY RELEASED--1400PST--


PARIS (AFP) - The French defence ministry on Sunday confirmed carrying out some 20 airstrikes on targets held by armed Islamists in two northern Malian regions, but not against the house of Islamist leader Iyad Ag Ghaly.

"Around 20 air missions have been carried out in the last 36 hours in the regions of Gao and Timbuktu," the ministry said in a statement. A French military source denied an earlier report by a Malian security source that the home of Ag Ghaly, the leader of Islamist group Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith), had been destroyed, telling AFP it was "still standing".

OBVIOUSLY ANY NEWS COMING OUT OF THE NORTH IS WORTH REPORTING EVEN IF IT IS GROSSLY INACCURATE..


SACRE BLEU!! WHERE ARE THE REBELS?

MILITARY BUREAU//HQ//
TODAY//1300PST//CLASSIFIED//

TO: SITREP DATA
FROM:HQ
SUBJ: QAEDA VANISHING ACT

ALMOST TWO WEEKS INTO OPERATION SERVAL AND NOW AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO A SERIOUS ASSESSMENT OF THE STATUS QUO ON THE GROUND:

SURELY BACK ABOUT JANUARY 15 A CONVOY OF 300 REBEL TECHNICAL PICKUP TRUCKS BRISTLING WITH MACHINE GUNS AND ANTI-AIRCRAFT WEAPONRY WAS CAUGHT OUT IN THE OPEN BY FRENCH FIGHTER AIRCRAFT AND PULVERIZED AS IT  SPED SOUTHWARD ON RN15 TOWARD KONNA, FUELED BY GAS RECENTLY SMUGGLED IN FROM ALGERIA.

THE AERIAL BOMBARDMENT WAS SUCCESSFUL AND THE CONVOY REMNANTS DISPERSED, LICKING ITS WOUNDS IN HASTY RETREAT. HOWEVER, A COUPLE DAYS LATER THE TOWN OF DIABALY ALONG THE MAURITANIAN BORDER WAS CAPTURED BY A BAND OF REBELS AND HELD AT GUNPOINT AS FRENCH AND MALIAN FORCES WERE ONLY JUST BEGINNING TO MUSTER  IN BAMAKO FAR TO THE SOUTH.

EVEN AS ALL OF THIS CAME DOWN, FRENCH JETS POUNDED REBEL ENCAMPMENTS FAR TO THE NORTH, GAO IN PARTICULAR. BUT THERE WAS NO INDICATION AS TO JUST HOW EFFECTIVE THESE SORTIES WERE; THEN CAME THE BIG SURPRISE.

A BAND OF WELL-DISCIPLINED OUTLAWS HIT A GAS PLANT IN EASTERN ALGERIA, SEIZED HUNDREDS OF HOSTAGES AND FOUGHT TO THE LAST MAN AS THE ALGERIAN ARMY CLAIMED A "NO QUARTER, NO MERCY" POLICY TO CLEAR THE REBELS OUT. BY JANUARY 21ST, THE AIN AMENAS HOSTAGE CRISIS HAD BEEN RESOLVED BUT IT HAD TURNED THE EYES OF THE WORLD ON ALGERIA, AND NOT ON MALI.

THIS GRAND DIVERSION, ALMOST UNWITTINGLY EXECUTED BY A REBEL ONE-EYED OUTCAST, PROVIDED JUST WHAT THE MALIAN ENEMY FORCES NEEDED.

FOR A PRECIOUS FEW DAYS THE DIVERSION ALLOWED THE REBELS IN GAO, AND POSSIBLY IN TIMBUKTU, JUST ENOUGH TIME TO HOP INTO THEIR 300 TECHNICALS, GATHER UP ALL THEIR GUNS, AMMO AND EXPLOSIVES, AND MELT INTO THE NEARBY COUNTRYSIDE AND ENCLAVES.

BY THE TIME THE ARMY OF LIBERTAION ARRIVED UP NORTH, THE ENEMY WAS GONE; FROM DIABALY, FROM GAO AND FROM TIMBUKTU.

THE WHEREABOUTS OF THE ELUSIVE QAEDA AND ISLAMIST FIGHTERS IS NOW ANYBODY'S GUESS, WHICH MAKES FOR AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SITUATION IN THE AREA OF OPERATIONS, EXTENDING FROM KONNA TO THE SOUTH, DIABALY TO THE WEST; AND TIMBUKTU AND GAO TO THE NORTH.


S2

DIST..>>ALL INC. MOBSECURE.,  TXT..


MILITARY BUREAU//HQ//

TODAY//1300PST//CLASSIFIED//

LINES OF COMMUNICATION

MILITARY BUREAU//HQ//TODAY//CLASSIFIED//

TO: SITREP DATA
FROM:HQ
SUBJ: GROUND OFFENSIVE HALTED

WHAT LITTLE NEWS COMING OUT FROM THE TWO FRONT LINES, THE ONE AT TIMBUKTU, AND THE OTHER AT GAO, IS THAT LITTLE MORE IS BEING DONE OTHER THAN AIR SORTIES TO SOFTEN POSITIONS STILL HELD BY REBELS.

NOTE, FOR INSTANCE, A PHOTOGRAPH RELEASED BY THE FRENCH MILITARY ON AN AIRSTRIKE ON ANSONGO, WHICH IS 80 KM SOUTH OF GAO AND WAS EXECUTED A FEW DAYS AGO. THE PHOTO CLEARLY SHOWS SEVERAL LARGE EXPLOSIONS BUT THEY ARE SHROUDED IN SMOKE, INDICATING, CONTRARY TO THE REPORT THAT ARMAMENTS WERE DESTROYED, NO MUNITIONS OR FUEL WERE DESTROYED. IN THAT TYPE OF ATTACK FROM THE AIR, A NUMBER OF SECONDARY EXPLOSIONS, SUCH AS FLAMES AND FIERY EXPLOSIONS, WOULD BE EVIDENT IN THE PHOTOGRAPH:

 
THERE WAS A BRIDGE REPORTED DESTROYED BY REBELS SOUTH OF ANSONGO, ALONG THE BORDER WITH NIGER, BUT MAPS AND AERIAL PHOTOS SHOW NO INDICATION OF SUCH A BRIDGE.
 
THERE APPEARS TO BE A BREAKDOWN IN STRATEGY THAT HAS FORCED THIS ABRUPT HALT TO OPERATIONS AND MAY WELL BE EXPLAINED BY THE FACT THAT THERE JUST AREN'T ENOUGH FORCES DEPLOYED IN THE FIELD TO COVER SUCH AN AMBITIOUS PLAN TO ERADICATE THE REBELS FROM THE NORTH.
 
MISMA HAS DELAYED IN-COUNTRY OPS UNTIL FEBRUARY; ECOWAS NOW WANTS TO NEGOTIATE WITH SPLINTER FACTIONS OF THE REBEL HIGH-COMMAND; THE ABIDJAN MEETING WHICH WILL BILL ECOWAS $750 MILLION TO DEFRAY EXPENSES OF OPERATION SERVAL ALSO SHOWED SOME SIGNS OF COMMAND BREAKDOWN. THAT MEANS EACH CONTRIBUTING NATION WOULD HAVE A SAY AS TO WHERE IT WAS TO DEPLOY.
 
WHAT  DOES ALL THIS MEAN FOR THE CURRENT STATUS QUO ON THE GROUND? SIMPLY PUT, IT WILL BECOME BOGGED DOWN. FRENCH-MALIAN FORCES IN GAO WILL HAVE TO DECIDE TO GO NORTH TO BOUREM AND KIDAL OR SOUTH TO ANSONGO, BUT THERE JUST MAY NOT BE ENOUGH TROOPS DEPLOYED TO DO EITHER, MUCH LESS BOTH.
 
REPORTS FROM TIMBUKTU, UNDER A MEDIA BLACKOUT AND HINTS THAT NOBODY WILL GO INTO TOWN UNTIL SO-CALLED BOOBY TRAPS ARE DISLODGED, MAY JUST BE A CONVENIENT WAY TO APOLOGIZE OUT OF THE OPERATION NOW THAT SOME BIGGER PLAYERS ARE MAKING THE SITUATION MORE CONFUSING, AND MORE POLITICAL. THIS WILL NEED TO BE EXAMINED FAR MORE CLOSELY, AND WITH A NEWS VACUUM ON OPS, WILL MAKE IT EVEN MORE NECESSARY TO EXAMINE.
 
 
REGARDS
 
OPS S2....DIST ALL DEPT VIA TT, TXT, MOBSECURE..%CODE500
 
 
MILITARY BUREAU//HQ//TODAY//CLASSIFIED//
 
 
 

SERVAL SITREPS

MILITARY BUREAU//HQ//TODAY//CLASSIFIED//

TO: SITREP DATA
FROM:HQ
SUBJ: OP ASSESSMENT

APPARENT FROM PREVIOUS REPORTS THAT DETAILS OF THE FRENCH ACTION IN MALIO KNOWN AS "OPERATION SERVAL" IS VERY WEAK ON PROVIDING DETAILS OF GROUND ACTION. MOST OF THE REPORTS COMING OUT OF THE AREA OF OPERATIONS CONCERN GENRALIZED HEADLINES:

"FRENCH TAKE GAO"
"AIRSTRIKE DESTROYS ANSAR DINE CHIEF'S VILLA IN KIDAL"
"REBELS RUN FROM DIABALY"

HOWEVER, REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS CAN'T GET TO THE ACTION; ARE KEPT AT LOGISTICAL BASES, SO-CALLED "EMBEDDING" IS DUBIOUS AT BEST. ALL NEWS IS DONE VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS AND AGENCIE FRANCE PRESS. EVEN THE LOCAL NEWS, MALIJET AND MALIWEB, USE AFP REPORTS, ALL SANITIZED TO REMOVE ANY REFERRAL TO THE WRONG HOUSE BEING BOMBED OR WHO STEPPED ON A BOOBY TRAP.

NO DEFINITIVE NUMBERS ON REBEL BODY COUNT, VEHICLES DESTROYED, ARMS AND MUNITIONS CAPTURED, POWS INTERROGATED. AND ITS NOT JUST THE NEWS FRUSTRATED WITH ALL OF THIS . HUMANITARIAN AGENCIES ARE REPORTING LACK OF ACCESS TO DISPLACED PERSONS, HOSPITALS INDICATE NO CASUALTIES ARE COMING TO BE TREATED.

THERE IS ALSO NO INDICATION AS TO THE SIZE OF FORCES THAT HAVE ";LIBERATED" GAO OR "ENCIRCLED" TIMBUKTU. WILL STAY ON THIS ASSESSMENT

S2

TO: DIST...USUAL CHANNELS...


MILITARY BUREAU//HQ//TODAY//CLASSIFIED//

MEDIA BLACKOUT

MILITARY BUREAU PRESS CTR///1/27/2013//1100PST

TO: PRESS LIAISON
FROM: HQ
SUBJ: NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS




FOLLOWING EXCERPT FROM AL JAZEERA REPORT TODAY

Bamako, Mali - Since France launched its military intervention in Mali two weeks ago, the combined Malian and French forces have managed to quickly retake much of the country.
They have done so almost exclusively beyond the eyes of the media, an exceptional feat in the age of Twitter and livestreaming. Where journalists have been allowed to "embed" with French troops, they have been kept well away from operations and are restricted to marginal stories about logistics.


French officials have organised no press conferences in Bamako. Their press contingent in Bamako consists of a one-man band, whose main function is to refer media queries to Paris.

On top of the roadblocks, communications have been cut wherever operations are underway, making it impossible to independently verify what is taking place.


There are no official death tolls either for civilians or soldiers. No-one interviewed by Al Jazeera could say where prisoners of war were being held or how they were being treated.


THIS IS CONSISTENT WITH THE FACT THAT IN GENERAL, NEWS IS CONTROLLED BY EITHER ASSOCIATED PRESS OR AGENCIE FRANCE PRESSE AND CAN BE VERIFIED BY HUNDREDS OF REPORTS IN HUNDREDS OF WESTERN NEWSPAPERS AND ONLINE EDITIONS, ALL REPORTING THE SAME STORY, VERBATIM...

REGARDS

PRESS HQ

DIST..TTX, TT, MOBILE SECURE,  COURIER...CODE500XTTZ


MILITARY BUREAU PRESS CTR///1/27/2013//1100PST

GROUND OFFENSIVE HALTED

TO: MILITARY BUREAU G2
FROM: INTEL BRANCH
SUBJ: ADVANCE ON TIMBUKTU

ENTRANCE INTO CITY HAS BEEN TEMPORARILY PUT ON HOLD AND THE REASONING CAN BE FOUND IN A TELEGRAPH FROM THE UK:



TELEGRAPH UK---TODAY---


5:06PM GMT 27 Jan 2013

THE NORTHWESTERN FRONT--
Armed convoys of Malian and French soldiers converged on the outskirts of the ancient trading centre after reports that the city's Islamist occupiers had fled.

 
Diplomatic sources said immediate attempts to secure Timbuktu were "on hold" as specialist French forces assessed risks that militant commanders had ordered the city's mud-walled buildings and narrow streets booby-trapped as they left.

Mali's army and its French allies were not expected to face significant resistance in the city however, following accounts that Ansar Dine, the al-Qaeda-linked militants that held it since April last year, had fled early on Saturday.

HOWEVER, IT MAKES NO SENSE THAT THE RETREATING REBELS WOULD SQUANDER  VALUABLE ORDNANCE JUST TO MAKE LIFE DIFFICULT FOR GOVERNMENT AND INTERNATIONAL FORCES. ONE WOULD THINK THAT THE REBELS WOULD TAKE EVERYTHING THEY COULD CARRY OR STUFF INTO THEIR TECHNICAL PICKUP TRUCKS, WHICH LEADS TO ANOTHER INTERESTING NOTION.

THERE HAVE BEEN NUMEROUS REPORTS THAT ALL OF THE RETREATING UNITS HAVE BEEN DROPPING THEIR WEAPONS AND RUNNING. IT MUST BE REMEMBERED THAT 300 VEHICLES WERE REPORTED TO HAVE BEEN MOVING ON KONNA WHEN ALL OF THIS BEGAN; WITH FUEL SUPPLIED FROM A CONVOY RECENTLY RETURNED FROM ALGERIA.

ONE THEREFORE NEEDS TO MAKE THE ASSUMPTION THAT ALTHOUGH AIR STRIKES HAVE BEEN NUMEROUS, THERE HAS YET TO BE RELEASED ANY BONA FIDE REPORT ON JUST HOW BADLY THE ENEMY HAS BEEN MAULED BY THE COMBINED AIR-GROUND ACTION.


WILL RPT ON THIS APPARENT LACK OF GENUINE DATA AS INFO ARRIVES

S2....DIST...,..>>TXT, SECURE MOB..,%44500CODE...



 

NIAFUNKE OPERATING BASE

FOB NIAFOUNKE

Forward operating base on River Niger just below Timbuktu

...//.., a column of soldiers French and Malian headed Sunday to the legendary city of Timbuktu, 900 km northeast of Bamako. "They spent Niafounké and last night, they are on the outskirts of Timbuktu," ..//..

...///...“They've gone past Niafounke town (situated in Northern Mali) and since yesterday evening are at the gates of Timbuktu,” //...




 
Niger ferryboat/Niafounke



NIAFOUNKE:

Population:
6,901
Languages spoken:
French, Bambara
Local electricity:
220V - 50Hz
Mobile phone / cellular frequencies:
900 Mhz
Decimal Coordinates:
15.932 and -3.991 (Lat./Lng.)
Coordinates by Time:
N 15° 55' 55" and W -3° 59' 26"
Distance from Capital:
351 miles (or 565 kilometres) North-East
Closest Airports:
Goundam Airport
Tombouctou Airport
Currency and Currency Code:
Franc - XOF
Local Time: 05:40 PM (Sunday)
UTC/GMT offset: 0 hours
Timezone: Africa / Bamako
Sunrise and Sunset:
6:49 am and 6:08 pm






RECON IN TIMBUKTU

GUARDIAN UK--TODAY

The rebels have retreated northwards to avoid relentless French air strikes that have destroyed their bases, vehicles and weapons, allowing ground troops to advance rapidly with armoured vehicles and air support.

French and Malian forces reached the gates of Timbuktu late on Saturday

One Timbuktu resident now outside the town said a friend inside had sent him text messages saying he had seen government troops on the streets, but gave no more details.

FRANCE 24--TODAY

The French air force has laid the groundwork for an all-out offensive, using Dassault Mirage 2000s and Rafle fighter jets to destroy rebel points in the vast desert around the city. So far, the troops have experienced no form of counter-attack on the ground.

rebels flee very quickly [when the French and Malian forces arrive], leaving behind weapons and vehicles. They dress like civilians so as not to stand out


DAILY STAR--

A Malian reconnaissance team has reached the edge of Timbuktu, a senior Malian officer said, adding that French and Malian soldiers were approaching the city "without meeting any resistance".

RAID ON KIDAL

Ansar Dine strongman's house obliterated; phone lines down


NORTHERN FRONT--
Islamists and Kidal region in the extreme north-eastern Mali, including destroying the house of the chief of the armed group Ansar Dine (Defenders of Islam), it was learned Sunday, sources said.
There were air strikes in the Kidal region (1,500 km from Bamako). These strikes were especially hit home Iyad Ag Ghaly in Kidal and a military camp in the same city, told AFP a Malian security source.

The French army has fired at a military camp in Kidal, and destroyed the house of Iyad Ghaly. There were also shots of French aviation west of Kidal, not far from the village of Iyad Ghaly, said his side an elected official in the region.

Kidal region and the stronghold of Ansar Dine. Led by Iyad Ag Ghaly, ex-military and ex-figure of Tuareg rebellions in Mali in the 1990s, this group came to light in 2012.
It was reinforced by fighters who were active members of the North African branch of Al-Qaeda.


Telephone communications with the town of Kidal are interrupted.
Kidal was the first city conquered by Tuareg rebels and Islamist groups in March 2012. Tuareg rebels of the National Liberation Movement of Azawad (MNLA) were then evicted from the area by their former allies.
Saturday, French and Malian soldiers have seized Gao, another Islamist stronghold, 1,200 km from Bamako.
(© AFP / January 27, 2013 9:14)

NEWS FROM THE FRONT LINES:

Translated from MALIWEB:  1/27/2013
http://www.maliweb.net/

TIMBUKTU:


10:04: "The Islamists have begun to flee Timbuktu" - After two days of travel on the Niger river, a boat docked in Mopti in central Mali, from Timbuktu in the north. "Over there, with us, the Islamists began to flee," said a student from land. "He's still" a trader shade. "I live in Timbuktu and we are all happy with the French President François Hollande! One has the impression that will be released very soon, "said Sidi Touré, trader 67 years wearing a green turban, party Thursday aboard a large boat of his city" cut off from the world, "without network telephone. At his side, a driver Songhai 44, Mohamed Toure said to live "like a party," the announcement of the resumption of the jihadists Gao, 1,200 km northeast of Bamako, by the French military and Mali. "Of course, war is not good. But the release of the North, is it really war? These are the people suffering for nine months who demanded to be released, "he argues.


KIDAL:


9:29: The French Air Force destroyed the house of the leader of Ansar Dine and hits Kidal - French aircraft bombed Islamists and Kidal region in the extreme north-eastern Mali, including destroying the chief's house armed group Ansar Dine (Defenders of Islam), it was learned from sources. "There were air strikes in the Kidal region (1,500 km from Bamako). These strikes were especially hit home Iyad Ag Ghaly in Kidal and a military camp in the same city, "said a Malian security source. "The French army has fired at a military camp in Kidal, and destroyed the house of Iyad Ghaly. There were also shots of French aviation west of Kidal, not far from the village of Iyad Ghaly, "said an elected its side in the region.

GAO:

8:57: The African troops being deployed in Gao - Soldiers from Mali, Chad and Niger were being deployed in the city of Gao, Islamic stronghold in northern Mali, said the spokesman Staff of the French army in Paris. According to Colonel Thierry Burkhard, speaking on Europe 1, the African forces were projected by air on airport Gao, made by French special forces. "In a combined action on the night of Friday to Saturday Special Forces and air strikes," the airport and a strategic bridge on the Niger, a few km from Gao (1200 km northeast of Bamako) were taken, he said.