Mali: Tuareg autonomy at issue in new fighting

At least 12 people were in clashes Feb. 6 between rival Tuareg groups at Tabankort, northwest of Kidal in northern Mali, local sources told Efe. (See map.) Reports said the separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) suffered 10 deaths, while the pro-government Imghad Tuareg Self-Defense Group (GATIA), lost two fighters, according to the sources. For more than two weeks, the two groups have battled for control of land along the border with Algeria apparently with little interfrence from the Malian army or the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The Bamako government and MINUSMA opened talks in Algeria last week with the MNLA and allied High Council for Azawad Unity (HCUA). (EFE,, Feb. 6)

On Jan. 28, armed attackers including suicide bombers killed some dozen people in an assault on MNLA positions at Tabankort. The attack was blamed on GATIA, but local sources siggested the paramilitary force may have been infiltrated by Islamist militants. (BBC News, Jan. 28)

One day earlier, MINUSMA troops at Gao fired on protesters, killing at least three. The violence erupted as peacekeepers were meeting local leaders angry over a plan to create a "buffer zone" in the Tabankort area under the interim control of the MNLA and its allies. (BBC News, Reuters, Jan. 27) 

On Jan. 20, MINUSMA carried out an air-strike against MNLA fighters, saying its troops had come under attack in fighting between the rebels and GATIA. (Bloomberg, Jan. 20)

  1. Mali: Tuareg rebels sign peace deal

    Mali's government on Feb. 19 signed a ceasefire deal with rebels at UN-brokered peace talks in Algeria. The deal was signed by the rebel coalition, including the MNLA, HCUA and Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA) , as well as the Bamako government and allied militia forces. Talks are to continue toward a permanent peace accord. (Reuters, BBC News)

  2. Mali: peace deal with Tuareg rebels collapsing?

    At least eight Malian soldiers were killed Mat 11 in an attack near Timbuktu, which the government blamed on the rebel Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA). A CMA leader told AFP that rebels had "ambushed the Malian military."