TIMBUKTU, Mali – The head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali says officials will soon begin the process of looking for barracks where armed rebels can be confined.
Boert Koenders announced at a press conference Wednesday that the effort, aimed at reducing the number of weapons circulating in northern Mali, will start this week.
Koenders says the initial search will take place in Tessalit and Kidal, which is the home base of a separatist ethnic Tuareg movement known as the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad.
He says it's an important step toward providing security for the population of northern Mali, which emerged from jihadist rule about a year ago following a French-led military operation. The north continues to struggle with instability and the separatists remain active.