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Could there be an error here:

French officials dispatched a military unit to secure the site in restive northern Mali where an Air Algerie plane crashed with the loss of 116 people.

"Restive" means, approximately, impatient and fits a person better than an area. In the example sentence, Mali is an area. So, is the usage in the example sentence wrong?

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I don't think it is an error, but I can't find a good dictionary reference. The word restive is indeed often used to describe regions of the world which are politically unstable. – hunter Jul 25 '14 at 11:51

You are being too literal. This use is an ordinary metonymy

a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is called not by its own name but rather by the name of something associated in meaning with that thing or concept.

It signifies that the region is the ‘scene’ of unrest and that the people of northern Mali are restive.

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