UN Takes Command of African Peacekeeping Mission in Mali

French launched intervention in January


(Reuters)—The United Nations took over command of an African peacekeeping force in Mali on Monday, bolstering the mission in a country still threatened by militants and weeks away from what analysts warn could be chaotic elections.

The transfer of command will bring in soldiers from beyond Africa and eventually see the operation more than double in size.

Western and regional powers want to keep order in the West African country after a tumultuous 18 months when soldiers toppled the president and al Qaeda-linked rebels seized the desert north.

France, fearing the militants could use the territory as a launchpad for foreign attacks, launched a lightening offensive in January and forced them to retreat.