Mali: the announcement of the death of jihadist leaders should not overshadow the difficulties on the front

Soldats français de l’opération Serval, après la reprise de Tombouctou. Source : Ministère de la Défense, Médiathèque,
06 March 2013

The second stage of the French military intervention in Mali, after the recovery of northern Mali in four weeks, is to secure the liberated territories and to hunt down jihadist groups. The announcement of the presumed death of two important jihadist leaders  Abou Zeid and Mokhtar Belmokhtar  is good news for the morale of the French politicians, especially now, when fears of getting stuck in a quagmire are growing. But throughout February, deadly skirmishes conducted by jihadist groups in Gao and northeastern Mali demonstrated their enduring capability to harm. France is probably condemned to remain a long time in Mali.