Heavy fighting ensued late Thursday afternoon in Kidal, northern Mali between armed pro-government forces and former rebels mainly Tuareg living together in the town since February.
The clashes were between members of the High Council for Unity of Azawad (HCUA), a coalition of former Tuareg rebellion in northern Mali and Gatia allies, a coalition supporting armed movements in Bamako, a source explained to AFP.
“Street battles are taking place between the Gatia and HCUA. They are vicious street fights,” officials said.
“All civilians are at home due to the heavy weapons fired especially in the city center where clashes are taking place between HCUA and Gatia,” some locals confirmed.
Another official said the fighting is related to a “leadership issue between the Tuareg tribe and the Imghad Ifoghas for control of Kidal.”
No official report has been made available and the parties could not be contacted.
The Gatia is a member of the armed movement coalition called Platform, which supports the Malian government.
The HCUA belongs to the coordination of movements of the Azawad (CMA coalition of former rebels).
Their men have clashed in the past despite the signing of a peace agreement reached after months of negotiations in Algiers in May-June 2015.