UN Mali

January 12, 2013 - 5:32 AM
In this Nov. 24, 2012 photo, soldiers from a Malian army special unit stand atop pick-ups mounted with machine guns, following a training exercise in the Barbe military zone, in Mopti, Mali. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, that France, Senegal and Nigeria have responded to an appeal from Mali's President Dioncounda Traore for help to counter an offensive by al-Qaida-linked militants who control the northern half of the country and are heading south. The U.N. chief said that assisting the Malian defense forces push back against the Islamist armed groups is "very important."(AP Photo/Francois Rihouay)