Rebels urge UN to remove 'security zones' in northern Mali

Bamako - Mali's main Tuareg rebel group on Wednesday urged the United Nations to lift "all the security zones" set up in the country's north in response to deadly clashes between rival groups that have threatened to unravel a newly agreed peace deal.

Three days of fighting between pro-government Tuareg militants and Tuareg rebels from the Co-ordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) prompted UN peacekeepers on Tuesday to install a 20km safe zone around the town of Kidal to protect civilians.

The worst clashes took place on Monday as loyalist fighters from the Platform coalition seized control of Anefis, about 120km south of the CMA stronghold of Kidal.

In a statement, the CMA asked the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to immediately remove "all the security zones established" and "let the different parties settle their differences".

Peace deal

The group claimed that security zones had been installed in a number of northern towns and cities, although MINUSMA's announcement only mentioned the one around Kidal.

The Platform alliance said 15 people were killed in the recent clashes, while a MINUSMA security source told AFP the unrest had left at least 10 dead.

The Platform and CMA groups are both signatories to a peace deal that was finalised in June with the aim of ending decades of ethnic divisions and uprisings by Mali's Tuareg.

An uprising by the traditionally nomadic people in 2012 allowed al-Qaeda-linked militants to seize Mali's vast desert north for nearly 10 months, until they were ousted in a French-led military offensive in 2013.

While the Malian government did not go so far as to outright criticise MINUSMA's move to create a security zone, it urged the peacekeeping mission on Tuesday to "stay within its role of protecting all the people in the exposed areas".

"Any unfair treatment will produce adverse effects in the search for peace and harmony," it warned.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 660 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 3560 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 758 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.20
-0.1%
Rand - Pound
21.30
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
18.70
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.22
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.0%
Platinum
1,012.08
0.0%
Palladium
1,618.86
0.0%
Gold
1,928.39
0.0%
Silver
23.60
0.0%
Brent Crude
86.66
-0.9%
Top 40
74,766
+0.4%
All Share
80,791
+0.4%
Resource 10
77,871
-0.4%
Industrial 25
103,872
+0.7%
Financial 15
16,281
+0.6%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE