News / Africa

Northerners in Mali Denounce Separatist Bid, Mobilize for Peace

Youths protest in front of national television headquarters in Bamako, Mali on Feb. 2, 2012. Protesters are angry about the government's handling of attacks by Tuareg rebels in north.
Youths protest in front of national television headquarters in Bamako, Mali on Feb. 2, 2012. Protesters are angry about the government's handling of attacks by Tuareg rebels in north.
Nancy Palus

People from northern Mali are mobilizing to help families affected by the fighting between government forces and Tuareg separatists.  Northerners gathering in the capital Bamako on Sunday denounced any calls for autonomy by what some called "terrorists," and discussed ways northerners can help bring back stability.

The line that was on everyone’s lips was: "The territorial integrity of Mali is non-negotiable.  Mali is one nation, indivisible."

Malick Alhousseini Maïga, president of an association of people from the north, said as Mali faces grave problems posed by the rebellion, northerners are in an unenviable position.

"We are the perpetrator and the victim at once," he said. "Perpetrator because it is indeed our brothers who have sparked hostilities. And victim because it is our home, the north, that is occupied. Victim because it is our families who are exposed to violence and being forced to flee."

Northerners are also victims because they are associated with those who attack and kill Malians, said Maïga. Tuareg, also known as Tamasheq, recently faced discrimination and attacks in Bamako and other parts of the south after rebels killed Malian soldiers.  Malians say there is a risk such hostilities could emerge again if the government does not put down the rebellion soon.

One youth in Bamako, Albert Coulibaly, said that Mali must equip the army to end the conflict within weeks.  If not, there will be combat among civilians, he said.  Fighting, Coulibaly said, would break out between Tamasheq and black Malians, even though not all Tamasheq support the rebellion, .

A former Malian prime minister, Ousmane Issoufi Maïga, said the northerners’ activist group, known by its French acronym COREN, is committed to helping the government in any way it can to stabilize all of Mali.

He said the principal goal is a return to normal and a proper functioning of government throughout the country.  COREN is there to support the government and armed forces as they pursue that goal, said Maïga.

Participants called on the government to reinforce the military in the north, many pointing to the formation of local vigilante groups in communities who feel their security is threatened. A lack of state authority in the north is one of many factors feeding the crisis, according to COREN.

Other factors keeping the north vulnerable are the displacement of communities and widespread food insecurity, said COREN member Mohamed Fall, adding that any effort to resolve the conflict in the north must address these issues.

COREN members say they will conduct missions to visit displaced Malians in and outside the country, assess their needs and work to facilitate their return home.  The United Nations says at least 130,000 people have been displaced since fighting started in January.

Participants at Sunday’s meeting denounced any notion of dividing Malians between northerners and southerners.

Moussa Abdoul Karim, from the northern Gao region, sparked applause when he said, "I am not from the north, I am not from the south, I am a Malian."  He said Malians must not forget the part of the national anthem that says, if the enemy should emerge, within or outside the nation, we are ready to stand and die.

COREN is collecting funds that leaders said would be used to help the army as well as people in the north affected by the fighting.  Passing around cardboard boxes during the meeting, the group raised more than 1.3 million CFA francs or about $2,600.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid