Mali: National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA) rebels ended military operations and created Azawad state
Mali’s MNLA separatist rebels said they had ended their fight to create an “Azawad” state on the edge of the Sahara on Thursday after achieving their goal, according the group’s website.
The rebels, battling alongside Islamist militants who want to impose sharia, or Islamic law, swept through northern Mali last week, pushing government forces from Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu, the three northern regions of Mali that the MNLA says will form the new state.
“(The MNLA) decides unilaterally to declare the end of military operations from Thursday, 5 April and midnight GMT,” the group said on its website, www.mnlamov.net.
Malian government forces are in disarray after a coup in Bamako sparked a collapse as rebels advanced in the north but the statement indicates that MNLA forces do not plan to push any further south from their current positions.