Tuareg rebels from northern Mali say they’ve seized control of two army bases in the centre of the county, as tensions with the country’s military rulers worsen.
A Malian official told the AFP news agency there were some deaths in Sunday’s attacks in Léré town, in the Timbuktu region, but did not confirmed how many.
A peace deal Tuareg separatists made back in 2015 has floundered since the civilian government was kicked out in 2020, and the expulsion of UN peacekeepers last month has further fuelled the conflict.
“We attacked and took control of the two military camps in the town of Léré this Sunday”, a spokesman for the Tuareg rebel alliance – known as the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) – told AFP. He also claimed they had shot down an army plane.
Days earlier the rebel alliance had announced it was resuming hostilities with the government, and on Tuesday had clashed with the military in the town of Bourem resulting in dozens of deaths on both sides.
The renewed conflict with Tuareg rebels comes weeks after the al-Qaeda-linked jihadist alliance Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM) said it was declaring “war in the Timbuktu region”.
The military leaders of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali signed a joint defence pact in Bamako at the weekend, under which they promise to come to the aid of each other if attacked by foreign forces or internal uprisings.