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Mali: rebels claim capture of new army camp

Mali: rebels claim capture of new army camp
File photo from 27 July 2013: Tuareg loyal to Colonel Major El-Hadj Gamou listen during a visit by the Malian army chief of staff to Kidal   -  
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Rebecca Blackwell/AP


The predominantly Tuareg rebellion in northern Mali claimed Wednesday the capture of a new camp of the national armed forces in the north of the country, the scene of a military escalation since August.

The High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA) indicated in a brief statement on social networks that the army camp in Taoussa, not far from Bourem in the Gao region, was "under control" of the rebels, without further details.

A teacher contacted on-site by AFP reported exchanges of gunfire underway in the afternoon in the camp area.

The HCUA is one of the components of the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), an alliance of predominantly Tuareg armed groups which, after rising against the central state in 2012, signed a peace agreement with him in 2015 but who have just taken up arms again in August.

Several army camps have since suffered attacks from the CMA but also from the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), affiliated with Al-Qaeda, between Timbuktu and Gao, and even further south.

The attackers commonly seize army positions and leave after a while, according to the rare information and images that emerge from these events. Military authorities generally say they repelled the attackers.

The assertions of all the protagonists are difficult to verify in these remote areas. Access to independent sources in a context of hostilities and military rule is complicated.

Since the end of August, northern Mali has been the scene of renewed hostilities against the army, in a context of rivalry for control of the territory. This resurgence coincides with the withdrawal of the UN mission, pushed out by the junta in power since 2020.

This resurgence is juxtaposed with persistent violence in the center and jihadist expansion to the north and east.

An army convoy made up of dozens of vehicles and armoured vehicles left Gao on Monday towards the Kidal region, a stronghold of the Tuareg rebellion. This movement fuels speculation about an offensive on Kidal, which could constitute a turning point after a decade of conflict.

Local sources reported Wednesday morning shooting in the Tarkint sector, on the route of the column.

The GSIM claimed responsibility on social networks for an explosive device attack against the procession in which, according to it, there were also mercenaries from the Russian security group Wagner. He also claimed responsibility for an attack on a convoy in the centre.

The army appeared to acknowledge these operations in a video posted on social media Wednesday morning. She notably reported an attack with improvised explosive devices perpetrated on Tuesday between Gao and Anéfis, that is to say on the path apparently taken by the convoy, without further details.

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