Mali calls for army intervention in north

2012-07-05 10:29
<a href=\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\http://www.shutterstock.com\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\>Shuttertstock</a>

Shuttertstock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Bamako - Mali's national assembly on Wednesday called for army intervention in the north where Islamists have enforced strict sharia law, destroyed ancient shrines and trapped residents with landmines.

In a statement calling for "restoration of territorial integrity", the parliament "calls on the entire Malian people for implacable resistance to the occupation and boosting solidarity by all possible means".

Protesters from northern Mali demonstrated in the capital on Wednesday against the Islamist takeover of the immense northern region. About 2 000 people braved pouring rain to join the sit-in protest at Bamako's Independence Square monument, chanting: "We want weapons to liberate the north."

"If the army doesn't want to go to war, then give us the means to liberate our territory!" said Oumar Maiga, leader of a northern citizens' collective.

Tuareg lawmaker Nock Ag Attia said the tribes present in the north - the Tuareg, Fulani, Songhai - did not "share the foolishness" of the Tuareg rebels and al-Qaeda-linked Islamists.

The protest came as the international community mulled ways to help Mali's embattled interim government save its vast desert north, a territory larger than France or Texas, from the armed Islamists.

The presence of the rebel Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith), which is openly allied with al-Qaeda's north African franchise, has sparked concern that the region may become a new haven for terrorism.

Mali is being ruled by a 12-month interim government set up after a 22 March coup and which has proved powerless to deal with the partition of the country since the Islamists and Tuareg rebels captured key northern cities.

Constitutional order

The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) will hold a mini-summit in Burkina Faso on Saturday to discuss the formation of a unity government that could request military intervention from its neighbours.

Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore, who has not returned to his country since being attacked in his office in May, will travel from France to attend the summit, Burkinabe Foreign Minister Djibrill Bassole told AFP.

The 70-year-old Traore was attacked by a mob opposed to him taking over from the junta inside his office on 21 May.

Mali has continued its descent into chaos since then and is de facto split in two, with Islamist groups linked to al-Qaeda controlling the north.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday denounced an "accumulation of horrors" in rebel-held northern Mali, saying women were raped, men beheaded and ancient treasures destroyed.

He repeated earlier comments that he was "confident" the UN Security Council would soon pass a resolution authorising the force to assist Mali win back its territory.

"The aim is firstly to re-establish constitutional order in the south and to ensure and affirm Mali's integrity," Fabius said. Following that, the goal would be "to regain lost territory".

The former colonial power's prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said France was determined to prevent the setting up of "international terror bases that threaten the peace and prosperity of the whole region and our security too".

Ecowas says it has 3 300 troops ready to deploy in Mali.

Wanton and ruthless

The UN Security Council will on Thursday threaten sanctions against the Islamist fighters, but will not give a UN mandate to the proposed African intervention force, diplomats said.

The 15-nation council is to pass a resolution giving support to the move by West African states to send a force to Mali.

The ramped up diplomatic efforts came after Islamists in the fabled city of Timbuktu set about wrecking UN world heritage-listed ancient shrines, which they consider idolatrous.

Ansar Dine has already enforced strict sharia law in Timbuktu in recent months, as well as in other key cities, and at the weekend began their rampage against the tombs they consider "haram", or forbidden.

They smashed seven tombs of ancient Muslim saints as well as the "sacred door" to a 15th century mosque.

The European Union condemned what it said was a "wanton and ruthless" destruction of cultural treasures.

"This appears to be a deliberate attempt to destroy a valued and ancient part of the religious and cultural heritage not only of Mali's people but of the whole world," a statement from the office of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.

"These sacred places of prayer, listed by Unesco as World Heritage, must be protected now and for posterity."

In the key northern city of Gao, Ansar Dine's al-Qaeda allies have planted landmines around the city to prevent a counter-offensive by the Tuareg fighters they violently expelled last week.

The Tuareg - descendants of those who founded Timbuktu in the fifth century - spearheaded the initial takeover of the north as part of a decades-old rebellion to reclaim what they consider to be their homeland.

However, the previously unknown Ansar Dine, who had been fighting on their flanks, swiftly took the upper hand and pushed the Tuareg rebels from all positions of power, most recently in bloody clashes in Gao.

Read more on:    un  |  ecowas  |  al-qaeda  |  mali  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Camping gear!

We’ve got all your camping must have’s right here at mind blowing low prices. Check them out now!

Herbex – buy 3 & get 1 free!

Fat burn packs, appetite control chewies, stretch mark cream and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

30% off Jinger Jack handbags

Spice up your wardrobe and save 30% on stylish Jinger Jack handbags. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Buy 3 books & pay for 2

The cheapest of the 3 books will be free. Offer valid while stocks last. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

Deal of the week!

Hisense 40” Full HD LED Television now R3999. Offer valid while stocks last. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to network and share your ideas and thoughts with your colleagues and friends. Information overload is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.