Mali governor abandons return to Kidal
12 July 2013, 17:08
Bamako - The governor of Kidal in Mali abandoned his
return to the northern region on Friday, flying back to the capital Bamako only
hours after his arrival.
The visit had been scheduled for four days and was
supposed to be an important confidence-building mission, before presidential
elections later this month.
"I am back in Bamako, at the ministry [for
territorial administration]," Governor Adama Kamissoko told dpa on Friday,
without providing further explanation.
Kamissoko returned to the northern town of Kidal on
His visit was meant to be highly symbolic, as the town of
25 000 was held by Tuareg rebel group the National Movement for the Liberation
of Azawad (MNLA) for some 17 months.
The MNLA, which signed a peace agreement with the
government last month, seized large parts of the north with its allies last
year, and still occupies the governor's official residence.
Under the ceasefire agreement, some 200 Malian soldiers
entered Kidal last week accompanied by UN peacekeepers.
The government has lifted a state of emergency to allow
campaigning for the first round of a presidential election on 28 July.
Peace in Kidal is seen as essential to the success of the
French troops, UN peacekeepers and civilians in Kidal
have come under attack over the past few days.
Supporters and opponents of the rebels have been staging
rival rallies on the divisive issue of the north's independence.