Mali: Government blames Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA) rebels to launch new attacks in north
The Malian government has accused Al-Qaeda of backing Tuareg rebels who fought troops over a town in the northeast in the latest push in their insurgency.
The rebels, many of whom recently returned from fighting in Libya, last week announced a fresh offensive in their quest for greater autonomy for their nomadic desert tribe, and on Tuesday attacked the town of Aguelhoc.
In a statement Thursday, the defence ministry said the Aguelhoc assault was carried out by “AQIM jihadis, MNLA forces and others”.
It was referring to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA), a rebel group.
This was the first time an official connection has been made between AQIM, Al-Qaeda’s north African arm, and the Tuareg rebels.