Mali governor abandons return to Kidal

2013-07-12 20:00
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Bamako - The governor of Kidal in Mali abandoned his return to the northern region on Friday, flying back to the capital Bamako only hours after his arrival.

The visit had been scheduled for four days and was supposed to be an important confidence-building mission, before presidential elections later this month.

"I am back in Bamako, at the ministry [for territorial administration]," Governor Adama Kamissoko told dpa on Friday, without providing further explanation.

Kamissoko returned to the northern town of Kidal on Thursday.

His visit was meant to be highly symbolic, as the town of 25 000 was held by Tuareg rebel group the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) for some 17 months.

The MNLA, which signed a peace agreement with the government last month, seized large parts of the north with its allies last year, and still occupies the governor's official residence.

Under the ceasefire agreement, some 200 Malian soldiers entered Kidal last week accompanied by UN peacekeepers.

The government has lifted a state of emergency to allow campaigning for the first round of a presidential election on 28 July.

Peace in Kidal is seen as essential to the success of the election.

French troops, UN peacekeepers and civilians in Kidal have come under attack over the past few days.

Supporters and opponents of the rebels have been staging rival rallies on the divisive issue of the north's independence.

- SAPA

Read more on:    mnla  |  mali  |  north africa
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