FOREIGN AFFAIRS – MALI – 14 January 2013
Dr Julian Lewis: To what extent do the Government believe that the insurgency in the north of the country has indigenous support, and to what extent, if at all, are outside Governments supporting the insurgency, as far as we can tell?
[The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mark Simmonds): From the information that I have, I can inform my hon. Friend that there is limited support from the population who live in the northern part of Mali for the terrorist activities taking place. The atrocities that are being committed are appalling, including not just the prevalence of sexual violence and rape, but the abduction of children and persuading them, through appalling means, to participate in the military conflict. Stoning, amputations and other participation in extreme sharia law are also taking place. That is not the main reason we are providing limited logistical support, but it starts to paint a picture of why most of the people in northern Mali are not supportive of the terrorist activities and Islamist atrocities, and, indeed, why so many of them – approximately 200,000 – have left the northern part of Mali.]