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March 22, 12

NEWS / UN chief calls for calm and peaceful resolution of Malian conflict

22 March 2012 –
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for calm and a peaceful resolution of grievances in Mali after rebel soldiers reportedly announced they have seized control of the country.

According to media reports, rebel troops appeared on Malian state television this morning to announce they had taken control of the country, with soldiers saying a curfew was in force and that the constitution had been suspended. The mutiny that reportedly occurred on Wednesday also involved an attack on the presidential palace.

“The Secretary-General is following with deep concern the developments today in Mali,” his spokesperson said in a statement issued on Wednesday night. “He calls for calm and for grievances to be resolved peacefully and within the democratic process.”

Yesterday, members of the Security Council expressed concern about the situation and appealed for calm from all stakeholders and for respect for the constitutional order.

Speaking with UN Radio today, the Special Representative for the Secretary-General for West Africa, Said Djinnit, said the news of the rebellion was met with disappointment by the international community, and reiterated the need for all actors in the African country to engage in dialogue to ensure stability.

Anger among the rebel troops had reportedly been mounting since January over a lack of support from the Government to help them fight against Tuareg rebels in the northern part of the country.

Renewed fighting between Government troops and the Tuareg has forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes, leaving them in dire need of shelter, food, and other basic needs.

On Tuesday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it would boost assistance for those who have been uprooted by the conflict, many of whom are living in camps in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger.

UNHCR also appealed last month for $35.6 million to respond to the growing humanitarian crisis as the overall number of people who have crossed from Mali into neighbouring countries now stands at close to 80,000, according to official tallies.




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