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Rebels, pro-government group clash in northern Mali

Rebels, pro-government group clash in northern Mali
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Soldiers in the back of a pickup truck patrolling a street during in Gao, Mali, on July 12. Fighting broke out in northern Mali on Thursday between a coalition of Tuareg rebels and a Tuareg group allied with the government of the West African country.  (SOULEYMANE AG ANARA / AFP/GETTY IMAGES)  

Thu., July 21, 2016

DAKAR, SENEGAL—Fighting has broken out in northern Mali between a coalition of Tuareg rebels and a Tuareg group allied with the government of the West African country.

The fighting was between the government-allied militia group GATIA and the Coordination of Azawad Movements, a coalition of groups seeking autonomy in northern Mali that includes ethnic Arabs and Tuaregs.

Ramadane said the fighting began when a convoy of GATIA vehicles entered the city and started firing on the homes of coalition leaders.

But a GATIA spokesman, Fahad Ag Al Mahmoud, said coalition members had started firing on the GATIA convoy.

Kidal, located in a remote desert region, is the northern headquarters for a UN peacekeeping force that has come under multiple deadly attacks.

Both of the groups had signed on to a peace deal in June 2015 between Mali’s government and armed groups in the northern part of the country.

Tuareg separatists took hold of Mali’s north in 2012 before Al Qaeda-linked militants took control. French forces pushed them out of their strongholds in 2013. Since then, the north has remained on edge, with more than 11,000 United Nations soldiers and thousands of Malian troops maintaining an uneasy peace.
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