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Mali: ‘Dozens killed’ in clashes between rival groups

13th Aug 2016
Mali: ‘Dozens killed’ in clashes between rival groups

BAMAKO, (AA): Dozens of people have been killed in a violent clash between a pro-government militia group and a separatist umbrella organization in northern Mali, a local source told Anadolu Agency Friday.

The clashes started on Tuesday in Kidal between fighters of the pro-government group, GATIA, and armed members of the separatist Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA), Fahad Ag Almahmoud, GATIA secretary-general, told Anadolu Agency.

GATIA, which is a French acronym for Groupe Autodefense Touareg Imghad et Allies, English for self-defense group of Touareg and allies, comprises of Tuareg and Arab communities in northern Mali who support the government. Its rival CMA seeks greater autonomy and a separate state in the north.

According to the GATIA source, 39 bodies of CMA fighters were found and 34 other injured fighters were admitted to the Kidal hospital in the latest incident. Some of the injured were also transported to Niger for treatment. Five GATIA fighters were also killed and 24 others injured, including three in serious condition, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity for safety reasons, added.

A military source close to the UN mission in Mali said: “It is difficult to make an assessment of the clashes. We know it has largely turned to the advantage of GATIA.”

In a statement released Wednesday, Malian authorities deplored the “casualties”. Last month clashes between the two groups had left dozens dead.

The two armed groups have been fighting over the management of Kidal despite signing two agreements for joint management of the city.

Kidal is the stronghold of several Arab and Tuareg rebels in Mali. Several militant groups are 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 militants from the country’s main northern cities.

Author Felix Nkambeh Tih

[Map of Mali showing location of Kdal. By Aaker/Public Domain]

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