Mali : FIDH and AMDH strongly condemn the killings in Kidal

Press release
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On 17 May 2014, eight people were killed by members of the National Liberation Movement of Azawad (MNLA) and the armed Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA) in Kidal. Included amongst the victims were two regional Prefects and four regional Sub-Prefects. FIDH and AMDH condemn these acts that constitute serious violations of human rights and threaten the fragile process of negotiations between the Malian authorities and the armed groups.

"We are concerned by the renewed tensions and shocked by the murder of civilians and government officials. We urge the Malian judicial authorities, with the support of the international community, to shed light on these acts in order to prosecute the perpetrators", said Mr. Moctar Mariko, AMDH President.

The violence occurred during the 17 May 2014 visit of Prime Minister Moussa Mara to Kidal, who had begun a visit to the northern regions, starting in Timbuktu the day before. He then tried to reach Kidal, a stronghold of armed separatist Tuareg groups, where his plane was initially prevented from landing by protesters. The Prime Minister then visited the military camp of the Malian Armed Forces (FAMA).

Fighting broke out between the FAMA and armed groups, in particularly the MNLA and the MAA. The final count was 8 dead and 25 wounded Malian army soldiers; and 28 dead and 62 wounded amongst MNLA and MAA fighters. Additionally, about 30 officials were taken hostage and held at governor’s office in Kidal, until 19 May 2014 when they were released.

This fighting is a violation of the ceasefire agreement and of the 18 June 2013 preliminary agreement regarding presidential elections. This agreement paved the way for the July and August 2013 presidential election which was marked by a record voter turnout. Parliamentary elections were held in November and December 2013, which established the country’s return to constitutional order.

In November 2013, the former Prime Minister Oumar Tatam Ly’s attempt to visit Kidal had also been marred by violence. Three civilians died when protesters occupied an airfield runway and threw stones at vehicles of Malian officials.

"It is crucial that the parties, including the MNLA , MAA, the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA), and the Malian government, meet at the negotiating table to achieve a definitive and inclusive peace agreement that would preserve the unity of Mali, respect for human rights, and the right of victims to truth, justice and reparation", said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

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