Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mali: National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) tuareg rebels say to have occupied town of Menaka

Pro-autonomy Tuareg rebels in Mali said on Tuesday they had occupied the northeastern town of Menaka, seeking to extend their presence as they push for talks with the government after the retreat of al-Qaeda-linked insurgents.

It was not possible to independently verify whether the MNLA’s fighters had entered Menaka, some 250 km (156 miles) southeast of their stronghold of Kidal. Menaka was a cradle of their uprising last year that seized northern Mali but was subsequently hijacked by al-Qaeda and its allies.

Malian military officials have accused the MNLA of seeking to exaggerate its footprint in northern Mali to strengthen its hand in possible talks with Bamako after a three-week French-led offensive drove the Islamist fighters into the far northeast.

“Our forces have entered Menaka,” MNLA spokesman Ibrahim Ag Mohamed Assaleh told Reuters by telephone from Ouagadougou, the capital of neighbouring Burkina Faso, declining to say how many fighters were in the town.

The News:
http://thestar.com.m … own&sec=Worldupdates



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