A Federal Foreign Office spokesperson issued the following statement today (18 January 2017) at the governmental press conference:
“A few hours ago, we received news from Mali, from Gao in the north of the country, an area overrun by Islamist terrorists a few years ago and where the terrorists have been pushed back thanks to French intervention and the joint efforts of the international community. We have to presume that there has now been a terrorist attack there aiming to sabotage the peace process in Mali.
Initial reports suggest several dozen have been killed and injured, mainly rebels, who during the peace process began to guard certain places in Gao as part of joint security patrols.
We utterly condemn this attack on the peace process in Mali. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the families of the victims and to the many who have been injured”.
The joint security patrols in northern Mali are, as confidence-building measures, an important component in the peace process. The Government, rebels and pro-Government militia are to work together to guarantee security in northern Mali.