A visit by a delegation of cabinet ministers from Mali’s central government to Kidal, the northern town held by Tuareg rebels of the MNLA, sparked a mini-intifada Sept. 17. Tuareg youth attempted to block the delegation’s plane from landing and then hurled stones at the ministerial convoy as it headed to the town. “Peacekeepers” from the UN Mission for Mali (MINUSMA) used tear-gas to disperse the protesters. Two bombs reportedly exploded in Kidal during the visit, although apparently causing no casualties.
On Sept. 11, the first clashes between MNLA fighters and government troops since a ceasefire was siged in June were reported from Foïta, near the town of Léré on the Mauritanian border. Three soldiers were injured, and an undetermined number of rebels reported killed. The MNLA accuses Bamako authorities of violating the ceasefire, signed following lengthy negotiations in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Mali’s newly sworn-in president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, has set a timeline or two months to reach a final peace accord with the MNLA and detemrine the future status of Kidal. Keïta’s official inauguration ceremony in Bamako’s stadium Sept. 19 was attended by French President Francois Hollande, who in his address to the crowd announced the official end of the French military mission in Mali. (DW, Sept. 19; MISNA, Sept. 17 via Eurasia Review; Mali Actualités, Sept. 16; BBC News, Sept. 11)
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