Tuareg rebellion sparks crisis in Mali

Rights group Amnesty says rebels’ fight for autonomy has created Mali’s worst humanitarian disaster in 20 years.

A Tuareg military offensive in northern Mali is causing a humanitarian and human rights crisis, with scores killed and thousands fleeing into neighbouring countries, rights group Amnesty International has said.

“This is the worst human rights crisis in northern Mali for 20 years,” Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty researcher on West Africa, said in a statement released on Friday.

“The rule of law has been markedly absent in this part of the country for years, and the region could be plunged into chaos if the fighting continues.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Friday that fighting had displaced at least 60,000 people inside Mali. The figure did not include other refugees who fled to neighbouring countries.


According to the ICRC about 22,000 people have fled to Niger due to the ongoing violence. The UN refugee agency said earlier on Friday that more than 44,000 people had fled to neighbouring Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso.

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  • February 19 2012 at 11:52pm
    By Tiemoko Diallo

    Bamako – Mali will hold its presidential election on time in April despite a heavily armed Tuareg rebellion in the north that has killed scores of people and displaced thousands more, President Amadou Toumani Toure said on Sunday.

    The surge of fighting in an area already struggling to tackle the presence of local al Qaeda agents had raised concerns that the election might have to be postponed. The first round is due on April 29.

    “We are already used to holding elections during war, and during Tuareg rebellions,” Toure said on national radio, referring to past polls during Tuareg uprisings in the 1990s. “Whatever the difficulty, you must have a president, elected legally and legitimately.”


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