An Army brigade from Fort Riley, Kan., some 4,000, soldiers, will begin helping to train African militaries. The idea is to help African troops beat back a growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida.
The American troops will head over in small teams over the course of the next year. The Dagger Brigade returned to Kansas last year from a deployment to Iraq, where it trained and advised that country's security forces.
Tourism, the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people in the West African country of Mali, has ground to a halt. Since the coup in March and the subsequent occupation of the north by militants linked to al-Qaida, Mali has virtually become a no-go zone for visitors. The impact on the economy and people's lives is profound.
In the historic city of Segou, about 150 miles north of the capital, Bamako, the effects are obvious.
On a recent day, the engine of the brightly painted pinasse, a wooden boat handcrafted with a swooping wicker canopy, slowly starts up.
Federal authorities are accusing four men from California of plotting to help al-Qaida and the Taliban. Last Friday, they arrested Ralph Deleon, 23, Arifeen David Gojali, 21 and Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales, 21 as they prepared to fly to Afghanistan. They were to meet Sohiel Omar Kabir, 34, who was already there. Kabir is being held by officials in Afghanistan.