Mali militias kill 15 near Algerian border

Militias near Mali’s desert border had clashes with Algeria on Thursday, breaking UN-backed peace accord, signed in June allegedly killing at least 15

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Confrontations erupted between rival armed groups near Mali's desert border with Algeria on Thursday, allegedly killing at least 15, whilst breaking the newly signed UN-backed peace pact.

Militias had signed a long-awaited peace deal in June after months of negotiations, however mediators are still struggling to make them abide by its articles.

Led by Tuareg warlords from opposing clans, the two parties had confrontations in August, near the town of Anefis, leaving 20 dead.

Attaye Ag Mohamed, a representative of the separatist Coordination of Azawad Movements said that "fighting resumed this morning in Inafarak where pro-government militias arrived recently to prepare an offensive against the CMA," adding that 15 fighters died, including 13 from pro-government militias.

“Around 70 pickups from the Platform pro-government alliance remained in the area and there was a risk of new violence on Friday.”

"We received reports that an exchange of fire took place there but ceased shortly after," said Radhia Achouri, spokeswoman for the UN mission to Mali.

The Algerian media reported that large arms seized in Inafarak including artillery, ammunition and grenades on Wednesday.

Security forces cited that the clash come over the competition to control trafficking routes through the desert to Algeria and Niger, they used cocaine and arms dealers as well as traditional trades.

Mali's Tuaregs have been seeking autonomy since Mali's independence from France in 1960 and have risen up for four times over the northern region they call Azawad.

An offensive led by French troops had to force them to retreat when regional militants clenched the north alongside Tuaregs in 2012.


TRTWorld and agencies