Intercepted Shipment of Bulgaria-Made Arms Arrives in Mali
A shipment of Bulgarian-made arms bound for Mali, which remained blocked in Guinea since end-July, has arrived in Bamako.
The weapons were reportedly ordered by former Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure before he was ousted in a March 22 military coup.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) intercepted the arms shipment to Mali at the port of Conakry amid concern that the weapons could wind up in the wrong hands.
An official of Mali's Ministry of Defense, as cited by foreign news agencies, informed that ECOWAS had informed Mali through an official letter that it would receive the impounded weapons and that the shipment had left Guinea on November 30.
Scores of trucks carrying armored equipment and containers under heavy guard arrived in Bamako Tuesday afternoon.
Guinea was ready to hand the weapons to Mali in mid-October but it had to wait for ECOWAS' permit.
In September, Guinea's Defense Minister Abdoul Kabele Camara, explained that the weapons bound for Mali had arrived at the port of Conakry on July 27 onboard a ship that had sailed from Bulgaria.
He said that the shipment included armoured personnel carrier and ammunition.
The Malian government reached an agreement with armed Islamist group Ansar al-Din and Touareg rebels occupying northern Mali to stop hostilities and hold talks to resolve the national crisis.
Dhibril Bassole, Foreign Minister of mediator Burkina Faso, announced Tuesday that the three parties had made a commitment to respect Mali's "national unity, territorial integrity, and a republican form of secularism as a prerequisite for the opening of the dialogue."
Delegations from the Malian government, Islamist group Ansar al-Din, and the Touareg Azawad National Liberation Movement also agreed on "the rejection of any form of extremism and terrorism."
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