• World - Africa
  • Updated: October 01, 2023

Tuareg Rebels Claim Military Base Following Clashes

Tuareg Rebels Claim Military Base Following Clashes

Following a battle in the country's north, Mali's northern Tuareg rebels announced on Sunday that they had captured another military base from the Malian army.

The military base is the fourth in a series of strikes carried out by the rebel group known as the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) since August, following the departure of a United Nations peacekeeping operation that had helped maintain a fragile peace for years.

The CMA's spokesman, Mohamed Elmaouloud Ramdan, told Reuters on Sunday that they had taken control of the Bamba military base in the Gao area. He didn't go into larger detail.

The Malian army announced in a statement on the social media site X that "intense combat against terrorists was ongoing at the Bamba locality," and that additional information would be released soon.

The CMA attack on Bamba, which follows attacks on military bases in Lere, Dioura, and Bourem in recent weeks, heralds escalating hostilities as both sides vie for control of territory in the West African country's desert centre and north, just before United Nations peacekeepers leave.

Insurgents linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State have also attacked the Malian army.

The Tuaregs have long grumbled about government neglect and demanded autonomy for the Azawad desert region.

In 2012, a Tuareg revolt was hijacked by Islamist organisations, who were later forced out of major cities by a French-led operation in 2013.

In 2015, the CMA struck a peace agreement with the former government and pro-government militia.

However, tensions reappeared when the military solidified power in two coups in 2020 and 2021, partnered with Russian military contractor Wagner Group, and expelled French forces and United Nations peacekeepers.

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