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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mali Government Claims Tuareg Rebellion is Finished

Mali's Defense ministry announced that after completing an offensive underway for weeks, the army now controls “all bases” of the rebels active in the north of the country. In a statement released today, the ministry specified that

“the army has routed Tuareg rebels of the Democratic Alliance for Change (ATNM)” led by Ibrahim Ag Bahanga, the last armed group active in the nation that refuses to take part in the Algiers peace process.

All the operational and logistical bases of the movement in Tin Assalek, Abeibara, Boureissa, Inerdjane and east of Touksimène have been taken and are under the control of our army and security forces”, added the ministry, referring that 22 rebels had been taken prisoner in the operation and large amounts of weapons, munitions and vehicles seized.

The wanted rebel leader Ag Bahanga is still at large.

A ceremony is due to be held on Sunday in Kidal, in the north, for the peaceful return of more than 500 former Tuareg rebels to the town of Kidal, a step outlined in the July 2006 Algiers peace agreement, committing the rebels to drop demands for the autonomy of northern Mali in exchange for a more rapid development of the three northern regions of Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu.

The ATNM in fact demanded a reduction in the military presence in the Tinzaouatène zone, on the border with Algeria, but the government refused claiming it was an international drug transit area.

The Rest @ African News Analysis

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