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This story is breaking.
The recent siege at Nairobi's Westgate mall, the massacre at a Nigerian university, and last year's international intervention in Mali bring Africa's insurgencies to international attention.
Mali appears ready to begin a new chapter. The future however holds greater challenges than the past.
The mission will support the French military by initially conducting aerial refueling missions, according to the Pentagon.
Algerian authorities are still trying to reclaim the BP facility where as many as 41 foreign hostages and an indeterminate amount of native workers were kidnapped Wednesday by Islamic militants.
The crisis in Mali took a decisive turn on Friday when French warplanes struck at positions in the north of the country held by Islamist forces.