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US concerns grow over Mali unrest
US gravely concerned by growing instability in Mali as Islamists destroy historic sites
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) The Obama administration is moving to boost assistance to people fleeing violence in northern Mali, where radical Islamists and rebels are taking advantage of political chaos in the west African country to destroy historic monuments and attack villages.

President Barack Obama on Thursday authorized the use of up to $10 million from an emergency fund to help the United Nations and relief groups deal with growing numbers of people fleeing the conflict. The White House condemned the destruction of several internationally protected Muslim shrines and sites in the famed city of Timbuktu by Islamist fighters who claim they encourage idolatry.

A White House spokesman called for rebel groups in the north and the military authorities who seized power in the capital in March to support a return to democratic rule.

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