Mali: Islamic extremists of Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) seize control of key town of Douentza
Islamic extremists have seized control of the strategic town of Douentza, moving much closer to government-held territory in central Mali.
Residents say that early on Saturday morning, a convoy of pick-up trucks carrying bearded men entered the town, about 800 kilometres northeast of the capital, Bamako.
Although far from the capital, Douentza is only 190km from Mopti, which marks the line-of-control held by the Malian military.
Islamist leader Oumar Ould Hamaha said the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (known by the French acronym MUJAO) had seized Douentza after a brief standoff with the local self-defence militia, which formerly controlled the town.
The head of the militia could not be reached.
The Malian military lost control of the northern half of the country in April, including the town of Douentza.