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By Sally Bailey
Wed, 29 Feb 2012 13:54:57 +1100

"Tinariwen’s management have confirmed that, unfortunately, only four out of the six musicians have been able to make it out of the region to Tamanrasset in Algeria for their onward flights,“ said Ian Scobie, WOMADelaide Director.

The two musicians who cannot go on tour, Ibrahim Ag Alhabib (one of the band’s founders, on vocals, guitar,
flute, acoustic guitar) and Elaga Al Hamid (vocals, guitar), remain in a precarious situation due to a dramatic
escalation in the conflicts between the MLNA (Mouvement de Liberation National Azawad) and the Malian Government army in the drought and famine-stricken region of north Mali in which they live.  Tinariwen’s management added that Ag Alhabib is sheltering in a refugee camp near the Algerian border with other
refugees and is unable to get out using his vehicle because they are caught between the MLNA rebels and the Malian Army crossfire. This latest uprising by the Touaregs against  the Malian government is related to their ongoing demand for autonomy.  It has already seen many people die and 130,000 refugees displaced
since mid January.

Terrifying days for these musicians and a sound reminder that the world is a dangerous place. In a show of support, members of Lo’Jo (France) will join Tinariwen on stage for their WOMADelaide shows.  The bands have known each other for over a decade and co-founded the renowned Festival au Desert in Mali in 2001. Ian Scobie hit the nail on the head with his statement " It’s disappointing for us of course but, more importantly, we hope that the musicians and their families remain safe.”

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