Mayor of Mali town killed as clashes spike -UPDATED

The death of Aroudeyni Ag Hamatou, mayor of Anderaboucane, came as a UN mission expressed concern over human rights abuses and violations of a shaky ceasefire

Mayor of Mali town killed as clashes spike -UPDATED

World Bulletin/News Desk

The mayor of a town in northern Mali died on Saturday from wounds sustained in an ambush that killed his son, one of a string of attacks highlighting persistent instability in the north of the country.

The death of Aroudeyni Ag Hamatou, mayor of Anderaboucane, came as a United Nations mission expressed concern over human rights abuses and violations of a shaky ceasefire between rebel and pro-government factions.

Two years ago, France dispatched thousands of troops to Mali to drive militants from towns they seized in 2012. U.N. forces have since deployed and militants have mounted a resurgence, while a series of rounds of peace talks with some rebels have failed to deliver improvements on the ground.

Mali's government said Ag Hamatou died as he was being flown by the U.N. to Bamako for treatment. His son was killed and his driver injured when they were attacked on Jan. 1 by unknown gunmen, between Menaka and Anderaboucane in Gao region.

"The government reiterates its pledge to punish those responsible for these crimes and fight against all forms of terrorism to restore peace and security to the whole of Mali," the government said in a statement.

However, a string of incidents in recent days have shown the fragility of any gains.

Faced with French firepower, fighters initially melted away into the desert and mountains, but they have since hit back at the less protected U.N. troops who deployed in the north, killing more than 30 and injuring 90 since mid 2013.

Mali's government has held a series of rounds of peace talks with rebel groups who distanced themselves from Al-Qaeda linked militants. But the U.N. mission said on Friday it had recorded a number of clashes in Gao and Timbuktu regions that were undermining a ceasefire.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms these acts of violence and provocation, especially the hostage-taking and pillaging," U.N. mission chief David Gressly said in a statement.

Gressly said all parties involved in peace talks were responsible for ensuring the ceasefire held so a final round of talks in Algiers can be completed.

U.N. peacekeepers wounded by roadside bomb

Meanwhile, at least six United Nations peacekeepers were wounded when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in northern Mali on Sunday, the U.N. mission in Mali said.

The vehicle transporting troops of the Niger contingent, part of the U.N. mission in Mali known as MINUSMA, was travelling on the road between Asongo and Menaka in the Gao region.

The soldiers who were wounded, three seriously, will be evacuated to the city of Gao for appropriate treatment, the U.N. mission said in the statement.

 

Last Mod: 04 Ocak 2015, 15:52
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