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30,000 Malian civilians, troops flee to Algeria
News Date: 18th March 2012

Algerian Interior Minister Daho Ould Kablia said on Saturday that more than 30,000 Malian refugees, including some troops, have crossed the border with Algeria to flee the armed conflicts in their country.

Ould Kablia made the remarks at the sidelines of the Algerian War Veteran Organization meeting held in Algiers, quoted by the local APS news agency.

"By doing so (receiving the refugees), Algeria does not meant to interfere in the internal affairs of Mali", said the minister, adding that his country will tighten its border control in case of a breakout of violence."

The minister said currently the country's Tinzaouatine border crossing with Mali "remains open" and so does its Debdeb border crossing with Libya in the southeast.

The minister further said the North African nation "is committed to offering safe shelter to anybody who is fleeing war or violence, regardless of his origin."

Meanwhile, Algerian Minister for Maghreb and African Affairs Abdelkader Messahel called for "a political solution" to the crisis in northern Mali, in a way that respects the territorial integrity of this neighboring country. He also urged "direct talks between the battling sides."

Armed conflicts erupted in northern Mali as the Touareg group started to seek independence, following which tens of thousands of Malians fled to neighboring countries for security.

Algeria has sent humanitarian aid for Malian refugees in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger.

Source: GNA

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