First Embassy visit to Timbuktu in four years

The Norwegian Embassy in Accra was this week given the opportunity to visit the sites of two of the projects Norway has financed in Timbuktu, Mali. This was the first time since the crisis in 2012 that the Embassy has been able to travel to the northern part of the country.

The security situation in the north of Mali remains unstable and unpredictable. Attacks from terrorist armed groups are a constant threat. After no less than 8 deadly attacks on check-points on the roads leading to Timbuktu between 2015 and 2016, resulting in 8 deaths and 12 wounded, the Governor of Timbuktu requested the help of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to upgrade the existing check-points.




The check-point on the road to Kabara was the first to be constructed, and was formally handed over from the Embassy and MINUSMA to Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) in a ceremony Tuesday. In total, Norwegian funding will help construct and upgrade six check-points.

The embassy was part of a delegation which also comprised the Malian Justice Minister Mr Mamadou Ismaël Konate, UN Secretary-General's Special Representative in Mali and head of the civilian pillar of MINUSMA, Ms Gasarabwe Mbaranga, the ambassadors from Denmark and the Netherlands to Mali, and program managers from MINUSMA and UNDP. The delegation was received by the Minusma regional commander, Brigadier general Mr Kegnon Kodjo, and the governor of the Timbuktu region, Mr Adama Kansaye.

Norway has financed the renovation of the local prison in Timbuktu. Renovation of prison is part of the Norwegian agreement with UNDP about the restoration of state authority and the rule of law in northern Mali, which was signed in 2013. The Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Børge Brende, signed a contract extension when he visited Bamako in March 2016. Renovation of prison is entirely funded by Norway. The prison can accommodate up to 80 prisoners, and has a separate cell for minors.

The delegation visit to Timbuktu was thoroughly covered by the Malian state TV-channel, and has been featured in the press:

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