News / Africa

Malian Military Takes Aim at Kidal

FILE - Soldiers from the Tuareg rebel group MNLA drive in a convoy of pickup trucks in the northeastern town of Kidal, Mali, February 4, 2013.
FILE - Soldiers from the Tuareg rebel group MNLA drive in a convoy of pickup trucks in the northeastern town of Kidal, Mali, February 4, 2013.

Location

Kidal, Mali
Anne Look
Mali is reportedly readying its troops to retake the far northeastern town of Kidal.  Kidal is currently controlled by the Tuareg separatist group, the MNLA, which says it will negotiate but will not disarm beforehand or let the Malian army enter the town. 

Malian military sources in the northern town of Gao tell VOA that a sizable number of soldiers and military police left the town last week headed north toward Kidal.

A military spokesman in Bamako told reporters Wednesday that the liberation of Kidal is the ultimate objective but declined to give further details, saying they would "see in coming days."

Questions remain as to whether the army really could or really would attack Kidal.  It is not clear whether reported troop movements and tough talk aren't just meant to push forward negotiations.

Kidal remains a sore point in Mali.  Many insist that its ambiguous status must be dealt with before elections can go ahead in July.

Kidal is the only major northern town not to return to Malian army control since French forces arrived in January and led a drive that drove al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants out of northern Mali's towns and cities, including Kidal.

Kidal is the seat of the Tuareg separatist group, the MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad), whose fight for northern independence began in January 2012 and triggered the ongoing nationwide crisis just two months later.

Both the MNLA and the government have said publicly they want to negotiate, but talks haven't gotten off the ground.  The government says rebels must disarm before talks.

A group of Tuareg notables, local chiefs and elected officials in Kidal created the High Council of Azawad (territory in northern Mali) on May 2.  The council is trying to corral members of the armed groups in Kidal, including the MNLA, to negotiations.

Council president Mohamed ag Intallah says reconciliation is the top priority and that Malian authorities need to give them more time.

"The council is asking for at the moment is that Malian authorities stop hostilities, stop the army's mission, and give them a chance to find a peaceful solution.  They want the residents of Azawad to come together at one table," said Mohammed ag Intallah, an influential figure in Kidal.  He is the eldest son of the region's traditional tribal chief.  But it is unclear how much support the newly created council has in the MNLA.

The MNLA says it is the government of Mali that has not been serious about negotiations.

The MNLA has agreed to give up its demand for independence and is ready to meet the conditions of the international community to accelerate dialogue," said MNLA spokesman Moussa ag Attaher. "If today Mali decides to turn a deaf ear and ventures to attack any of the six localities under MNLA control, the MNLA will have no choice but to defend itself and the local population with 'every ounce of its determination.'"

Amadou Maiga contributed reporting from Bamako, Mali.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid