As the international community (the UN, ECOWAS, the U.S., France, and NATO), slowly decide how to address the growing problem of the Jihadist takeover of northern Mali, the aforementioned Jihadists are not waiting around. The combined Jihadist coalition of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar al-Din and the Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), began an offensive in central Mali near Kona, a town near Mopti on January 9, 2013. After brief fighting, the Jihadists seized the town, capturing several government soldiers in the process.
As a result of the new round of fighting, the previously planned meetings between Malian officials, Tuareg separatists and leaders of the Jihadist militant groups occupying northern Mali were postponed to January 19, according to an aide to Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré, the official mediator.
All this comes as Mali government and its foreign allies put together a planned force of about 3,000 (that may or may not have U.S./European air support), to take back northern Mali. As the world dithers about what to do in Mali, reports from the Jihadist-occupied territory claim that al-Qaida and her allies are fortifying the north of Mali with tunnels, bunkers, and other defenses.