World Bulletin/News Desk
Fighting has broken out in northern Mali between Tuareg separatists and local Arab-led gunmen, only days after the African country won a $4.2 billion aid pledge to help it recover from a conflict.
Rebel and military sources both confirmed the clashes, although they differed over precisely which groups were involved.
The MNLA, a Tuareg rebel group, said its forces were attacked in the town of Anefis by a column of fighters on Friday. Its Paris-based spokesman, Moussa Ag Acharatoumane, said fighting continued on Saturday morning, with two of the group's fighters and at least seven Arab fighters killed so far.
The MNLA said it was fighting MUJWA, a group that occupied the town of Gao for months until earlier this year and has launched a series of guerrilla-style counter-attacks on the town since it was retaken in the French offensive.
A Malian army officer, who asked not to be named, confirmed there had been heavy fighting, likely stemming from long-standing rivalries between Tuareg and Arab communities that make up northern Mali's array of armed groups.
However he said the clashes were between the MNLA and the MAA, a group made up of Malian Arabs based north of Timbuktu. It was not possible to independently confirm the information.
Last Mod: 18 Mayıs 2013, 16:21