BAMAKO, Mali (AP) -- Tuareg rebels in northern Mali have released 30 hostages whom they had seized last weekend.
The rebel National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad said Monday in a statement its members delivered the hostages to aid workers and peacekeepers.
A resident of the northern Mali town of Kidal, Mohamed Ag Ibrahim, confirmed that the hostages walked from the rebel-controlled governor's office to the safety of a nearby army base.
The weekend rebel attack left eight civilians dead and marked a serious escalation in violence in Kidal, a separatist stronghold where Mali's military is viewed with hostility.
While the rebels released the hostages, they are continuing to occupy the governor's office.
The Mali government in a statement said it amounted to "a declaration of war."