Arab Today, arab today mali peace deal threatened as army and rebels clash
Last Updated : GMT 13:22:57
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Mali peace deal threatened as army and rebels clash

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Mali peace deal threatened as army and rebels clash

Malian tuareg soldiers patrol in streets in Gao
Bamako - AFP

Armed insurgents exchanged fire with soldiers in Mali, plunging peace negotiations into disarray in the first clash this year between government forces and the main Tuareg rebel alliance.

A Malian army colonel said fighters from the Tuareg-led Coordination for the Movements of Azawad (CMA) had ambushed military positions in Lere, a central town near the Mauritanian border.

"Groups of armed Tuareg rebels have been attacking us since 4:00 pm (1600 GMT). We are fighting back and defending our positions," a Malian army colonel told AFP from the town.

The CMA had warned in a statement after it came under attack from a pro-government militia on Tuesday it had "no other choice than to use its right to exercise legitimate self-defence to protect civilians, its people and its positions".

The army source said the militants had arrived in several vehicles from the west of the town.

"We are under fire. Everybody is hiding at home. The rebels are shooting, the Malian army too," a local councillor told AFP by telephone as gunshots rang out in the background.

The attacks came on a day of violence which started when unidentified militants opened fire on troops at a national guard camp in northern Mali, killing two soldiers and a child, security sources told AFP.

The gunmen struck at 5:00 am in the former Islamist stronghold of Goundam, 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the ancient desert city of Timbuktu, a Malian security source said.

The head of MINUSMA, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali, had voiced concerns for the west African nation's fragile peace process ahead of the attack.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon echoed those concerns Wednesday, calling for an "immediate cessation of the hostilities in northern Mali" following "serious ceasefire violations" in recent days, according to a statement.

- Deeply divided -

On Monday, the pro-government Imghad and Allies Tuareg Self-Defence Group (GATIA) was accused of violating a ceasefire when it seized key rebel positions in the desert town of Menaka, while UN vehicles were attacked by rebels on Tuesday.

The situation was calm on Wednesday in Menaka, where GATIA fighters have occupied the town hall, a MINUSMA source said.

Separate MINUSMA sources said militants appeared to have driven from the east ahead of Wednesday's attack in Goundam, adding that they stole cars belonging to the army and the government.

Mali was upended by a coup in 2012 which opened the door for Tuareg separatists to seize the towns and cities of the vast northern desert with the help of several Islamist groups.

The Tuareg were then sidelined by their one-time allies, extremists who imposed a brutal version of Islamic shariah in the region and destroyed historic buildings and artifacts in Timbuktu.

Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith) took control of Goundam and destroyed shrines in the town of around 20,000, declaring them idolatrous.

The Islamists then pushed south toward Bamako, prompting France to deploy troops in January 2013 who drove them back into the country's mountains and vast desert, and Mali returned to democracy with the election in August of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

The country remains deeply divided, however, with the impoverished north home predominantly to lighter-skinned Tuareg and Arab populations who accuse the sub-Saharan ethnic groups that live in the more prosperous south of marginalising them.

- Threat to peace -

The recent violence comes amid assurances by the CMA that it is committed to a deal to bring stability to Mali.

The government and a coalition of armed groups from the north known as the Platform have already signed the peace accord, brokered by Algeria under UN auspices over the past eight months.

But the CMA has been holding out ahead of the May 15 deadline, demanding an amendment guaranteeing political recognition for "Azawad", the name used by the Tuareg for the northern part of Mali.

"Unless there is a last-minute change, the CMA will initial the agreement before May 15," a Western diplomat in Bamako told AFP.

"In the interim, the CMA and government will hold direct talks."

The diplomat said 15 heads-of-state had been invited to the finalising of the accord in Bamako on May 15.

MINUSMA chief Mongi Hamdi said on Tuesday he had met rebel leaders over the weekend in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott who "confirmed their intention to initial the agreement".

But he voiced concerns that "months of intense negotiations involving all parties to put an end to the Malian crisis could be threatened" by renewed violence.

Mali's various rival factions agreed to a ceasefire in May last year after Tuareg and Arab rebels claimed control of Kidal and other northern towns, dealing a humiliating defeat to the Malian army.

 

 

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today mali peace deal threatened as army and rebels clash Arab Today, arab today mali peace deal threatened as army and rebels clash

 



Arab Today, arab today

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today mali peace deal threatened as army and rebels clash Arab Today, arab today mali peace deal threatened as army and rebels clash

 



Arab Today, arab today France defies terrorism through tourism

GMT 15:18 2017 Saturday ,20 May

France defies terrorism through tourism
Arab Today, arab today Zainab Fadel Oglu designs “Shakerin” mosque

GMT 12:13 2017 Thursday ,11 May

Zainab Fadel Oglu designs “Shakerin” mosque
Arab Today, arab today Seeks to move past rift with Israel

GMT 08:00 2017 Monday ,08 May

Seeks to move past rift with Israel

GMT 15:55 2017 Sunday ,19 March

Top commander of powerful Malian killed

GMT 14:23 2017 Monday ,13 February

Gunmen kidnap Colombian nun in southern Mali

GMT 16:06 2016 Thursday ,29 December

Militant group kidnapped French woman

GMT 00:29 2016 Monday ,26 December

French Aid Worker Kidnapped in Mali

GMT 00:56 2016 Tuesday ,08 November

UN Peacekeeper, 2 Civilians Killed in Mali Attack

GMT 08:23 2016 Wednesday ,20 July

Armed group kills 17 soldiers at Mali base
View News in Arabic - Country: أخبار المدن
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Mozambique's gas boom dream under threat

GMT 16:29 2017 Monday ,08 May

Mozambique's gas boom dream under threat
Arab Today, arab today Prepares to give stargazers an eyeful

GMT 13:38 2017 Monday ,06 March

Prepares to give stargazers an eyeful
Arab Today, arab today Jaguar displays XF Sportbrake line

GMT 14:36 2017 Monday ,08 May

Jaguar displays XF Sportbrake line
Arab Today, arab today BMW sees forecasts in reach

GMT 09:04 2017 Thursday ,04 May

BMW sees forecasts in reach
Arab Today, arab today Climate science: Bad news gets worse

GMT 08:48 2017 Saturday ,06 May

Climate science: Bad news gets worse
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday