Mali: Tuareg rebels attack

Tuareg guerillas killed at least at least nine soldiers in an attack on an army post in Mali’s remote north Dec. 22. The government claimed 11 rebel fighters were also killed when when gunmen in more than 20 four-wheel-drive vehicles raided the post at Nampala. The attack came despite a five-month-old Algerian-mediated ceasefire between the government and the rebels. Early reports put government casualties at 14.

Malian military sources said they believed the attackers were fighters loyal to Tuareg insurgent leader Ibrahim Bahanga—and raised charges of narco-trafficking. “The military post at Nampala was attacked by an armed band linked to drug traffickers. Casualties on the armed forces’ side were nine killed and 12 wounded and on the attackers’ side 11 killed and numerous wounded,” a Defense Ministry statement said.

President Amadou Toumani Toure issued a harsh warning to the rebels: “Enough is enough. We cannot continue to suffer, we cannot keep counting our dead … We cannot keep searching for peace… They are firing on anything that moves. They are firing on soldiers, they’re firing on civilians, what does all this mean?” But reports that five civilians were killed in the fighting could not be independently confirmed. (AFP, Reuters, Dec. 21; Reuters, Dec. 20)

See our last post on the Tuareg struggle

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