Sunday, February 18, 2018
Subscription Centre
Receive our free e-newsletter.
Click here for more information

Tuareg separatists seize Mali town

Mali town seized by Tuareg separatistsTuareg separatists seized a town in Mali's desert north from a pro-government ethnic Tuareg militia after days of fighting, the separatists and a local legislator close to the government side said.

Fighting between rival Tuareg factions has intensified and threatens to derail a 2015 peace deal meant to end years of conflict and instability in the landlocked West African nation.

The rebel Co-ordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) and the pro-government Gatia are locked in a power struggle in northern Mali, despite the return of state authority to its cities in March for the first time since a 2012 Tuareg uprising.

"Anefis has been under control of the CMA since yesterday. Preparations are being made to retake it," Ahamoudane Ag Ikmasse, a Gatia-allied local lawmaker in the nearby major city of Kidal told Reuters.

CMA spokesman Redouane Ag Mohamed Ali confirmed Anefis, a Sahara desert town, had been taken.

"It was a CMA position retaken by Gatia in 2015. CMA now controls the Kidal region," he said, although Ag Ikmasse disputed that.

Northern Mali was once a tourist hub owing to its history of caravan routes, gold and medieval Islamic scholarship.

But a Tuareg insurrection in 2012 created a power vacuum that turned it into a launch pad for jihadi attacks across the Sahara and the Sahel to the south.

Former colonial master France intervened a year later to push the Islamists back, but they are struggling to stabilise the country.

African powers backed by France launched a multi-national military force this month, primarily to tackle Islamist militants across the region, seen as the basis of an eventual exit strategy for around 4,000 French troops now deployed there.


Company News