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Red Cross visits 79 more Mali detainees

2012-07-31 20:28

Geneva - The International Committee of the Red Cross says it has visited 79 Malian military personnel held by separatist fighters in north-eastern Mali.

The Geneva-based organisation, which oversees the Geneva Conventions for the conduct of war, says it will help transfer to Malian authorities a detainee released for health reasons.

The ICRC said on Tuesday its staff also aided the exchange of family messages and telephone calls.

Jean-Nicolas Marti, who heads the ICRC's delegation for Mali and Niger, said those exchanges were intended to relieve months of separation and isolation.

In February and March, the ICRC visited 22 Malian military personnel held by the separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, or NMLA, in the country's northern half.

The group seized several towns it has since lost to an Islamist faction.