Fighting between armed groups in Mali, major "violation" of peace agreement: UN

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UN peacekeepers on patrol in Kidal, Mali. Photo: MINUSMA/Blagoje Grujic

Fighting between two armed groups in northern Mali, which are signatories to a year-old UN-sponsored peace agreement, has been condemned by the Secretary-General.

In a statement, Ban Ki-moon deplored the violence, and said that two days of fighting in the northern town of Kidal threatened to derail the establishment of proper authority in the region.

Matthew Wells has more.

The UN chief joined the UN Mission in Mali, MINUSMA, in calling on the rival armed groups to cease hostilities immediately and "restore calm" in the town.

On Thursday and Friday, the pro-government Gatia militia, clashed with Tuareg-dominated rebels known as the CMA, despite having held the peace and shared control of the area for months.

News reports said that dozens had been killed or wounded.

Both groups signed up to the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali last year.

Mr Ban said that "at this crucial juncture in the peace process" all the signatories needed to "take the necessary steps" for its "swift and full implementation, including the immediate establishment of interim authorities and security arrangements."

He added that MINUSMA would "continue to do its utmost to protect civilians and carry out its mandate, including the restoration of state authority."

The Malian government declared a 10-day state of emergency and a period of national mourning last week, after 17 soldiers were killed and 35 others wounded in an attack on a military base in central Mali.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 59″

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