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Al-Qaida-linked Islamists seize north Mali towns

Al-Qaida-linked Islamists seize north Mali towns

Islamist fighters with ties to al-Qaida say they now control the northern half of Mali after driving out a Tuareg separatist group. However, the Tuareg group says they still control at least 90 percent of northern Mali, and have only lost the main towns.
Contacted by telephone in the city of Timbuktu, Oumar Ould Hamaha, a fighter with the Islamist faction Ansar Dine, said Friday they had dislodged the Tuareg NMLA rebels from Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal. He said Ansar Dine is now the commander of northern Mali.
According to Hamaha, the NMLA, or National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad retreated and their fighters were en route to the borders with Burkina Faso and Mauritania.
Paris-based NMLA spokesman Moussa Ag Assarid said that the NMLA has not left northern Mali, although he conceded that they had lost the three strategic population centers.


Updated : 2021-05-06 22:07 GMT+08:00