The head of al-Qaeda’s branch in North Africa issued a warning to the Malian government against using foreign intervention to deal with the country’s insurgency.
In a videotaped message given to Al-Jazeera Thursday, Abu Mosaab Abdulwadood of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said, “To the great and proud Muslim people of Mali we say, the problem in your country is an issue between Muslims.”
“It can be solved internally, through reconciliation between Muslims, without having to shed a single drop of blood,” he said.
Earlier this year, Islamist militants and Tuareg fighters took advantage of a security gap following a military coup in Mali’s capital, Bamako, which resulted in the downfall of the country’s democratically elected president.
Months later, the Islamists hijacked the Tuareg insurgency and imposed Shariah across the northern reaches of Mali. Amnesty International and others documented rights abuses and extrajudicial killings throughout the region.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon late on Wednesday called for the reunification of Mali after months of instability.
“Northern Mali is at risk of becoming a permanent haven for terrorists and organized criminal networks,” Ban said, according to The Associated Press. “Urgent action is required to help the Malian government and people reunify their country.”
Ban stress that political dialogue should take precedence over a military intervention.
A military intervention not carried out well, he said, “could worsen an already extremely fragile humanitarian situation and also result in severe human rights abuses … [and] also risk ruining any chance of a negotiated political solution to the crisis.”
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