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UN urges Mali to implement ceasefire

29 May 2014, 14:38

New York - The UN Security Council urged Mali on Wednesday to implement fully a ceasefire between the government and armed rebel groups following fresh fighting in the northern desert town of Kidal.

The 15-member Council held closed consultations on the crisis in the Western African state, where the defence minister said on Sunday that 50 soldiers had been killed in recent clashes.

Members "urged signatories to implement the ceasefire fully" and reiterated their "full support" in contributing towards the stabilisation of Mali and the launching of peace talks.

The Mali presidency earlier Wednesday appointed a retired air force colonel as defence minister after the predecessor resigned over last week's deadly rebel takeover of Kidal.

Sporadic attacks

Armed groups including the Tuareg separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) humiliated the army in a deadly offensive across the northern desert.

The government signed a ceasefire with the MNLA and other rebel groups on Friday after mediation by the African Union.

The country descended into crisis in January 2012, when the MNLA launched the latest in a string of Tuareg insurgencies in the north, which the army was ill-equipped to defend.

A coup in Bamako led to chaos, and militants linked to al-Qaeda overpowered the Tuareg to seize control of Mali's northern desert.

A French-led military operation launched in January 2013 ousted the extremists, but sporadic attacks have continued and the Tuareg demand for autonomy has not been resolved.



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