Top stories from DAWNS Digest

France Intensifies Military Campaign in Mali

France has blocked a rebel advance southward and is striking insurgent targets far behind the front line. “Paris said four Rafale jets flew from France to strike rebel training camps, logistics depots and infrastructure around Gao with the aim of weakening the rebels and preventing them from returning southward. ‘We blocked the terrorists’ advance and from today what we’ve started to do is to destroy the terrorists’ bases behind the front line,’ French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told LCI television. France has deployed about 550 soldiers to Mali under “Operation Serval” — named after an African wildcat — split between Bamako and the town of Mopti, 500 km (300 miles) north. In Bamako, a Reuters cameraman saw more than 100 French troops disembark on Sunday from a military cargo plane at the international airport, on the outskirts of the capital.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/UXK2Dk)

From the Sahel section of today’s DAWNS Digest

Sahel

The UN Security Council will meet Monday at France’s request to discuss the conflict in Mali, an official said Sunday. (AFP http://bit.ly/UXKIbN)

The ECOWAS regional bloc will hold an extraordinary summit in Ivory Coast to evaluate the intervention in Mali. (AlertNet http://bit.ly/10siPis)

Islamist rebels have launched a counter-offensive, taking a town near the Mauritanian border from government soldiers.  (Reuters http://reut.rs/SxHzlQ)

Flooding has returned to parts of Niger along the River Niger displacing some 800 families. Reports indicate that flooding will continue and last until next month. (IRIN http://bit.ly/10sheZT)

World Vision is concerned about the children who will be affected by the rise in violence due to the international intervention in Mali. (WV http://bit.ly/X5MxC2)