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Algeria considers closing border with Mali

(Xinhua)

10:08, April 09, 2012

ALGIERS, April 8 (Xinhua) -- The Algerian government is considering closing its border with Mali and intensifying security measures after the Tuareg rebels proclaimed independence in north Mali, Algerian newspaper El Khabar reported Sunday.

El Khabar quoted a "well-informed source" as saying that the Algerian security services have advised the top authorities to close the southern border in order to provide humanitarian aids to refugees from Mali.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is expected to make a decision on closing the border soon, the source added.

The Tuareg rebels declared a region in north Mali they call Azawad as independent on Friday, after the country was divided into the rebel-controlled north and junta-controlled south following an unexpected coup by some soldiers last month.

Top Algerian military officials have visited areas bordering Azawad and checked local security measures, adding that the army chief of staff, the national gendarmerie and the military forces in Bechar and Tamenrasset have been ordered to review the management of military patrols along the southern boundary.

Algerian border police also tightened control over the region to facilitate the transportation of fuel and other strategic goods to the region.

Local eyewitnesses said the security measures are the toughest for years.

Algeria has already snubbed recognizing the independence of Azawad, saying that it supports the territorial integrity of Mali and a peaceful resolution through dialogue between the disputing parties.

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