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African press review 6 July 2012

Text by: William Niba
3 min

The UN threatens shrine-destroyers in Mali but won't send in the troops. West Africans and are set to discuss Islamist armed groups. Who is running Algeria 50 years after the end of French rule?


Most of the papers welcome the UN Security Council resolution on Mali passed late Thursday and calling for sanctions against Al-Qaeda fighters who have destroyed ancient shrines in the north of the country.

The 15-nation body stopped short once again from giving a UN mandate to a 3,300-strong west African force, ready to be deployed in Mali, to deal with the insurgency in the north.

Terrorist peril in the north, war inevitable” headlines Info-Matin after Mali’s parliament issued a declaration calling on “patriots” to put up relentless resistance to the armed Islamists insurgents occupying the northern region of the country.

L’Essor commends the Collective of Northern Malians (Coren), which made “a big splash” by mobilising over 2,000 people at Independence Square in the capital Bamako Thursday to press calls for military intervention against the Islamists.

The paper notes that the rally was marked by chants and slogans such as "Down with Ansar Dine, Mjuao, Boko Haram and the MNLA". The later is the Tuareg movement that  started the rebellion before being infiltrated by insurgents loyal to Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (Aqim).

“Who are we up against?” wonders Info-Matin, looking ahead to this weekend’s west African summit in Burkina Faso.

That emergency meeting is expected to approve the use of force against the hard-line Ansar Dine movement, the so-called Defenders of Faith, which together with Aqim and Boko Hara carried out the destruction in Timbuktu.

In near-by Algeria, El Watan publishes a government statement convening a meeting in Algiers on Monday of Maghreban foreign ministers, to discuss greater cooperation on security problems affecting the sub-region.

El Watan also looks back at festivities to mark 50 years of Algeria’s independence on Thursday. In an editorial the paper says shortcomings of housing estates and roads constructed by the Chinese and Japanese are now evident for everyone to see.

It is the French who are “operating” the tramways, trains, the subways, airports water dams and water supply systems, while the Qataris are “running” Algeria’s ports notes El Watan.

The left-leaning publication also frowns at the fact that the Algeria-at-50 musical in Algiers was "constructed" by  a Lebanese choreographer, describing the entire celebration as window-dressing as compared with the capital of Islamic culture at Tlemcem which cost billions of dinars “spent with impunity to please the dictatorial drifts of the diminutive king”.

According to El Watan, "that’s the Algeria that President Abdellaziz Bouteflika brought in his djellaba when he came to power in 1999".

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