The Islamist rebels in control of the northern two-thirds of Mali have made their first significant territorial gains in months, capturing the strategically important town of Konna along their mutual frontier.
The loss of Konna brings rebel forces for the first time into Mali’s southern region, with fighters promising to move against the city of Mopti, immediately south of Konna, which would effectively give them a straight shot at the capital city.
USAID announced that it is withdrawing from Mopti in anticipation of an attack, and residents of the city are fleeing in panic, with Western ambitions for an offensive to reclaim the north for the southern junta looking in serious doubt.
UN officials say that the situation could force an “emergency decision” by the international community, which is desperate to see the junta reinstalled. Whether the junta can even survive the new offensives is in serious doubt, however.
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