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Mali extends state of emergency amidst continued fighting

Mali extends state of emergency amidst continued fighting

Mali

Mali has again extended its state of emergency till March 29, 2017 as fighting continues in the country with the latest on saturday night between armed groups near Kidal.

The extension voted for by the National Assembly is the latest of many since the attack in November, 2015 on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako killing 20 people including two attackers.

The previous state of emergency was installed on July 21 for 10 days after the attack on an army camp killing 17 soldiers with 35 others injured. The measure gives security forces more power to intervene in security situations.

On Saturday night after the extension of the state of emergency, AFP reports of renewed fighting 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.

According to the UN Mission in Mali (Minusma), the fighting which began last week was the first violation of the September 2015 cease-fire between the two groups signed in 2015 together with the Government for peace and reconciliation after four years of fighting in the country.

Jihadist group Ansar Dine also continues to pose a threat in the country. On Friday, two Malian soldiers were killed and four wounded after a mine explosion in Gossi, northwest of Timbuktu.

Jihadist groups have controlled northern Mali since 2012 until the intervention of international troops in January 2013. They were driven out of the regions but large areas are still beyond the control of Malian and foreign forces.