World Bulletin / News Desk
The Malian government has declared three days of national mourning for victims of recent clashes between the government army and Tuareg rebels in the northern city of Kidal.
The decision was made during the cabinet's weekly meeting on Wednesday evening, the state television reported.
Minister of Communications Mahamadou Camara said on Wednesday that the army had recaptured the local government office in Kidal seized by rebels affiliated with the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) earlier this week.
A military source said that the army had launched an offensive to recover facilities captured by the Tuareg rebels on Saturday when MNLA gunmen stormed the city.
The Malian Defense Ministry said that at least 36 people had been killed and 87 injured during Saturday's clashes between the army and Tuareg rebels in the city.
Eight of the fatalities involved army troops while the rest belonged to "the aggressors," the ministry said in a statement earlier this week.
Tension erupted in Mali in 2012 following a failed coup and a Tuareg rebellion that ultimately allowed Al-Qaeda-linked groups to take over half of the country.
Former colonial power France, for its part, sent troops to the country and – with the help of Chadian and other African forces – flushed the rebels from northern Mali's main cities.
Algeria calls for self-restraint in Mali
Algeria on Wednesday called on all parties in the conflict in Mali to practice self-restraint, only hours after fighting erupted between the country's regular army and Tuareg rebels in the northern city of Kidal.
"Algeria calls for calm and self-restraint and urges all parties to avoid actions that might exacerbate tension and violence," Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra was quoted as saying by Algeria's official news agency.
Lamamra said his country denounced what he called the "unjustified killing" of Malian officials.
"Algeria feels sorry for the rise in violence in Mali," Lamamra said, adding that recent violence in the troubled West African country had already claimed numerous lives.
He said Algeria was doing its best to find a political solution to the crisis in northern Mali, stressing that his country was ready to offer assistance and encourage dialogue.
Algeria began mediating between the Malian authorities and Tuareg rebels in northern Mali weeks ago, before the two sidescame to blows earlier this week.Last Mod: 22 Mayıs 2014, 10:25