UN to launch inquiry into protests in northern Mali

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Thursday said he has decided to launch an investigation into the protests in front of a UN peacekeeping mission base in conflict-ridden Gao town in northern Mali, which led to deaths of at least three protesters.

On Tuesday, people gathered outside the headquarters of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to protest against an agreement MINUSMA had signed with the coordination of Azawad rebel movements in northern Mali, which had proposed to create a security zone around the strategic Tabankort locality, where rival armed groups were clashing.

Three people were killed and at least seven others were injured when thousands of protesters tried to break into the UN mission’s camp in Gao.

“The Secretary-General has decided to launch an inquiry to determine the facts surrounding this tragic incident,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told a daily briefing. “The United Nations will collaborate with the Government of Mali and all parties on the ground in this effort.”

“The Secretary-General reminds all parties of the need to respect their ceasefire commitments to enable the urgent resumption of peace talks in Algiers,” Dujarric added.

MINUSMA was established in 2013 by a Security Council resolution with the mission to support the political process and carry out security-related stabilization tasks in the country.