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

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent, Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail 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.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More