Mali: Ban Urges Immediate End to Fighting Amid Rapidly Deteriorating Situation in Kidal

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced his deep concern at the rapidly deteriorating situation in the northern Malian town of Kidal, where the United Nations says renewed violence threatens to once again destabilize the country.

The Secretary-General "calls for the immediate cessation of fighting and the establishment of a ceasefire," his spokesperson said in statement.

"The Secretary-General particularly emphasises his concern for the security of civilian populations, and recalls that the protection of civilians is an obligation for all parties. He condemns the killing of civilians and calls on the perpetrators to be held accountable."

The Malian Government has been seeking to restore stability and rebuild in the wake of 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.

"It is essential to avoid northern Mali descending into a spiral of violence that risks drawing Mali back to the state of crisis that put the country on the Council's agenda and could destabilize the entire sub-region," Albert Koenders, head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), told the Security Council yesterday as he briefed the 15-member body on the latest developments.

As for the violence over the weekend in Kidal, demonstrations were underway in the town ahead of a planned visit to the region by Prime Minister Moussa Maraand. Further, Malian troops were reportedly battling rebels that had laid siege to local government offices, Mr. Koenders said, and eight civilians and members of local administrative authorities were summarily executed. Two MINSUMA peacekeepers along with 21 MINUSMA police officers were injured.

Thirty-two people who had been captured were later released with the assistance of the Mission.

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