Mali: Ban deplores violent protests against Mission compound, launches inquiry

29 January 2015

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the deadly protests against a United Nations Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) compound in the northern city of Gao, which left several people dead and a number of others injured.

According to reports, a violent demonstration took place in front of the compound on 27 January with protestors reacting to the establishment of a temporary security zone in Tabankort, a town due north of Gao and in a restive area of the country.

MINUSMA has confirmed that the crowd surrounded the compound and pelted the facility with stones and Molotov cocktails, injuring two UN Police officers. UN Police responded with tear gas and fired warning shots to disperse the crowd and prevent it from entering the facility, resulting in the deaths of at least three people and the injury of eight others.

A statement released earlier today by a UN spokesperson said Mr. Ban was “saddened by the violence” and had decided to launch an inquiry “to determine the facts surrounding this tragic event.”

“The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations’ commitment to supporting the stabilization of Mali,” the statement continued. “He remains deeply concerned over the continued fighting in many parts of the country.”

It added that the Secretary-General reminded all parties in the country of the need to respect their ceasefire commitments to enable the “urgent resumption” of peace talks.

The Government in Mali has been seeking to restore stability and rebuild following a series of setbacks since early 2012, including a military coup d'état, renewed fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels, and the seizure of its northern territory by radical Islamists. Throughout much of this time, Mali’s north has remained restive and, in recent months, MINUSMA and its “blue helmets” have come under repeated violent attack.

 

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