Warns of possible spread of crisis to other African regions

Brussels, 22 March 2012/ ACP: The Parliamentary Assembly of the 79-member African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States has strongly condemned recent attacks carried out by armed groups in the north of Mali and calls for their immediate cessation and the protection of the civilian population.

Reports received today show the violence escalating,with soldiers attacking the Presidential Palace in Bamako on Thursday in a military mutiny against the government.

At its 27th session held in Brussels on 20 March, the ACP Parliamentary Assembly expressed its grave concern at the deteriorating situation in this region of Mali, following deadly attacks carried out by groups claiming to be linked to the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA), notably in the towns of Ménaka, Tessalit, Aguelhoc, Leré and Niafunké, since January 2012.

In a declaration, the ACP Parliamentary Assembly underlined that the MNLA and its allies had committed “atrocities tantamount to war crimes” when they summarily executed 70 Malian soldiers.

The Assembly attributed the crisis as a direct consequence of the Libyan conflict which has caused the movement of hundreds of heavily armed fighters into Malian territory. The group is deeply concerned that this crisis could spread to the entire Sahelo-Saharan region and even to other regions of Africa.

The ACP Parliamentary Assembly presents its condolences to the government of Mali and the families of the victims.

The Assembly appealed to the international community, the European Union and humanitarian organisations to support the Malian government to bring an end to the conflicts. / END

(Top Photo: AFP; Right: Mali MP to the ACP Parliamentary Assembly and former Co-President of the Joint ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly Hon. Moussa Ag Assarid)

Read full declaration here