TWO French fighter jets screamed across northern Mali on Thursday not in pursuit of terrorists, but on a far more tragic sortie. At 1:50 AM Air Algeria AH5017 disappeared, possibly over the country. The plane was an MD-83, carrying 116 people from Oaugadougou, Burkina Faso to Algiers. Onboard were passengers from France, Burkina Faso, Lebanon and elsewhere, and a Spanish crew. Its pilots were apparently told to alter course to avoid bad weather before contact with the flight was lost. Algeria has sent a C-130 aircraft and Mali is also looking, but the French military lead the search.
Operation Serval was launched in Mali in 2013 to drive terrorists from its northern cities. This month François Hollande, France's president, declared the mission ... [view whole blog post ]