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Mali: Dozens killed in clashes between rebel groups

23rd Jul 2016
Mali: Dozens killed in clashes between rebel groups

KIDAL,  (AA): Dozens of people were killed early Friday in a violent clash between a pro-government militia group and a Tuareg separatist movement in Kidal, in northern Mali, local sources told Anadolu Agency.

The clashes took place between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning between Gatia, a pro-government Tuareg and Arab militia and members of the Coordination of movements of Azawad, CMA (a rebel groups platform), witnesses told Anadolu Agency by phone.
“The provisional toll reported four dead on the side of the CMA and 30 on the side of Gatia,” Almou Ag Mohamed, spokesman for the CMA told Anadolu Agency.
“Seven members of Gatia were captured and 17 vehicles seized,” said Lt. Housseini Mohamed Saleh, who fought in the ranks of the CMA.
Anadolu Agency was not able to reach Gatia for comment.
A member of the local civil society told Anadolu Agency that the clashes started because of the recent arrival of supporters of Gatia in Kidal. The CMA members attacked the Gatia men, the source added.
In a statement, the UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA strongly condemned the clashes between two signatory movements of the Accord for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, reached a year ago.
“MINUSMA has taken steps to protect the civilian population. […] MINUSMA urges the leaders of the two movements to ensure without delay the return to calm,” the statement said, adding that it will support an independent investigation to determine responsibilities in the clashes.
For several months, the two armed groups have been fighting over the management of the city of Kidal, despite the signing of two prior agreements for a collegial management of the city.
Kidal is the stronghold of several Arab and Tuareg rebels in Mali.
Several militant groups are nonetheless very active in the northern part of the country, despite a peace agreement signed between the Malian government and several Tuareg rebel groups last year.

Tensions erupted in Mali in 2012 following a failed coup and a Tuareg rebellion that ultimately allowed al-Qaeda-linked militant groups to take over the northern half of the country.
In early 2013, former colonial power France, the UN, Chad and other African countries sent peacekeeping troops to Mali to fight Islamist militants from the country’s main northern cities.

Author Felix Nkambeh Tih

 

[Photo: Malian women march in support of peace agreement with armed groups in Bamako on 12 May 2015. Photographer: Baba Ahmed/AA]

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