Obruni Radio

Mali's government vows to recover territory  →

Mali’s embattled interim government has ramped up diplomatic efforts to save the north from rebel fighters who have destroyed World Heritage shrines in Timbuktu and have reportedly rigged another city with mines.

The interim government in the capital Bamako, set up after the March 22 coup which led to a takeover in the north as armed groups exploited the resulting chaos, has been scrambling for assistance to regain its territory.

"We will do everything to recover our territory," Sadio Lamine Sow, Mali’s foreign minister, told the AFP news agency, speaking at the end of a two-day visit to Algeria, where he held talks with authorities in Algiers.

The post-coup transition government has struggled to assert its authority in the face of armed al-Qaeda-allied groups occupying the north, and Mali’s neighbours in west Africa have proposed a stronger unity government be formed

West African leaders will meet in Burkina Faso’s capital on Saturday to discuss this option with senior Malian political figures, as the Islamist rebels escalate efforts to exert their control in the country’s north.


Mali: UN warning over refugees fleeing Tuareg rebellion →


The UN says the number of Malian refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries to escape fighting between Tuareg rebels and the military has doubled over the past 10 days.

More than 44,000 thousand people have crossed into Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Amnesty International described the fighting as the worst human rights crisis in northern Mali for 20 years.

The regional group Ecowas has condemned the Tuareg rebels for their offensive.

The Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA) took up arms last month following the return of many Tuareg fighters from Libya, where they had fought alongside Col Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

The BBC West Africa correspondent Thomas Fessy says the area affected by the fighting is now relatively calm.

Both sides claim to control the north-eastern oasis town of Tessalit, near the border with Algeria.

The resurgence in fighting follows two years of relative peace between the government and the Tuareg.

(cont. reading)