Mali: three detainees transferred after ICRC visit

By International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 1, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- In its capacity as a neutral intermediary, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today facilitated the transfer of three released military personnel and placed them in the care of the Malian authorities in Timbuktu. The three men had been detained with five other Malian army personnel by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA).

The ICRC visited the eight men yesterday, 29 February, near Léré, in north-western Mali. During the visit, the detainees wrote messages that will be delivered to their families.

"In order to ensure that we have the greatest possible access to detainees and other victims of the fighting, we are maintaining dialogue with the authorities and weapon bearers in the northern part of the country," said Alexandre Faite, the deputy head of the ICRC regional delegation for Mali and Niger. "These contacts are also important for ensuring the safety of ICRC and Mali Red Cross personnel bringing aid to thousands of people displaced by the violence."

The ICRC visits people detained in connection with armed violence to monitor the conditions in which they are being held and the treatment they receive. Its delegates must be allowed to speak to the detainees in total privacy and to repeat their visits. Their findings, which they share with those in charge, are not made public.

On 5 February, 13 other detained military personnel were visited by the ICRC in the north of Mali, where fighting has been taking place between the Malian army and armed groups for several weeks