NewsWest AfricaMali separatists back at war


Posted on Thursday, 22 May 2014 10:23

Mali separatists back at war

By Konye Obaji Ori

Photo©ReutersTuareg insurgents in Mali have reclaimed the key northern town of Kidal after intense fighting with government forces.


On Tuesday Tuareg separatists resisted an attempt by Mali's army to take control of their stronghold.

We defeated government forces after six hours of fighting and our flag is flying over the military base

The group is fighting for the independence of northern Mali.

French forces had intervened in Mali, last year, quashing the Tuareg rebellion.

A peace agreement was reached and the control of Kidal town was split between Tuareg forces and the Malian government.

However, fighting resumed again at the weekend as the Malian army planned to launch an assault on Kidal.

Mali's Prime Minister Moussa Mara visited Kidal on Saturday to show support for government forces based there and approved a planned attack on the Tuareg insurgency.

However, Tuareg forces stormed government buildings in Kidal, killing soldiers and civilians, and taking hostages.

According to a Tuareg spokesperson, the group has killed several government soldiers, wounded some, and kidnapped others.

"We defeated government forces after six hours of fighting [on Tuesday], and our flag is flying over the military base in Kidal," Tuareg official Attaye Ag Mohamed told Reuters.

According to eyewitness reports, parts of Kidal, including the market, have been destroyed in the fighting.

"We have taken control of all of Kidal, including Malian Military Camp 1, the regional governor's office and the Kidal fortress," he said.

On Wednesday, government forces brought in reinforcements for battle as the Tuareg forces proceeded to seize another northern town.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called for an immediate ceasefire.

Tuareg rebels are under the auspices of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA).

A Tuareg rebellion in northern Mali triggered a military coup in 2012.

But civilian rule was re-established in 2013 following a French-led military intervention.

Islamist and separatist forces remain active in some areas in the north, and have restarted their war.

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