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Iran Press TV

Mali government officials return to Kidal: Army commander

Iran Press TV

Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:47PM GMT

Malian government officials have returned to the northern city of Kidal almost a week after the Malian army reestablished control over the strategic city, an army commander says.

Colonel Mamary Camara, the city’s military chief, issued a statement saying the officials, including regional governor Colonel Adama Kamissoko, on Thursday returned to Kidal, which had been held by the Tuareg rebels.

“I am very happy to be back in this part of the country, and the message I am bringing to the population is to turn out in large numbers for the [July 28] presidential election so they can elect a president of their choice,” Kamissoko said.

The rebels had agreed to allow the army to enter the northern city in a peace deal that was signed between the government and the rebels last month.

The peace agreement -- mediated by regional African powers, the United Nations, and the European Union -- was signed on June 18 by Mali's Territorial Administration Minister Colonel Moussa Sinko Coulibaly and representatives of two Tuareg movements in Ouagadougou, the capital of neighboring Burkina Faso.

The consensus was reached after nearly two weeks of negotiations between all sides.

In January, France launched a war in the West African country under the pretext of driving out militants occupying the north.

On February 1, Amnesty International said “serious human rights breaches” -- including the killing of children - were occurring in the French war in Mali.

Chaos broke out in Mali after President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup in response to the government's inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country, which had been going on for two months.

However, in the wake of the coup d’état, the Tuareg rebels took control of the entire northern desert region, but the Ansar Dine extremists then pushed them aside and took control of the region, which is larger than France or Texas.

MAM/MHB



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