Tags: mali | explosion | rocks | town | accident

Mali Explosion Rocks Northern Town; Likely Accident, Say French

Monday, 30 Sep 2013 06:50 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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A Mali explosion authorities think may have been an accident shook the northern town of Kidal Sunday, just a day after a suicide car bomber killed two people and injured seven in Timbuktu, The Associated Press reported.

No casualties were reported in Sunday's explosion.

Hubert de Quievrecourt, a communications adviser with the French military, said the incident in Kidal on Sunday took place near the headquarters of the Tuareg rebel group the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad, the name they give to their homeland.

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"We think it's an accidental explosion caused by the poor handling of an explosive device but the circumstances are not yet clear," he told the AP. "What is certain is that no one was killed or wounded."

The force of the explosion blew apart the roof of the building where aid supplies had been stored, said Daouda Maiga, a civic leader in Kidal.

French forces along with members of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in northern Mali arrived at the scene of the explosion and set up a security perimeter around it.

"We don't know too much about what has happened but we don't think anyone was there at the time of the explosion," said Mazou Toure, a spokesman for the Tuareg rebel group that remains largely in control of Kidal.

The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, the name the Tuaregs call their homeland, recently withdrew from a peace accord they had signed with the government. The agreement had allowed for the Malian military to return to the town, where their presence remains highly controversial.

The deal also allowed for the July presidential election to proceed, the first since a March 2012 coup accelerated the chaos in the long democratic West African nation. In the aftermath, the secular Tuareg rebels and radical al-Qaida-linked jihadists both took control in northern Mali. The Tuareg rebels later retreated until a French-led military intervention ousted the jihadists from the country's northern provincial capitals.

On Saturday, two people were killed and seven others wounded in Timbuktu after suicide bombers blew up their vehicle near a military camp. The attack also struck near the famous Djingareyber Mosque, which is on list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, condemned the attack, which could have heavily damaged the mosque.

"UNESCO is determined more than ever to pursue the work of rehabilitating the cultural heritage of Mali and safeguarding its ancient manuscripts," Bokova said.

Related stories:

UN Peacekeepers Deploy in Mali

Mali's Islamists Withdraw Cease-Fire Pledge

Mali President Inaugurated in Front of Thousands  

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