Dozens of Malian rebel groups merge to counter jihadist groups

Malian soldiers guarding a a national Congress of various rebel groups   -  
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The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), one of the main armed groups operating in northern Mali, has reaffirmed its commitment to a merger of the armed groups of ex-rebels who signed a peace agreement with Bamako in 2015.

The Movement made the declaration at a meeting, held in Kidal, in the north of the country.

"In reality, the merger is a requirement of the current context. There was a first start, with the organization of the CMA (which suggested the merger in early July -ed). This is already a first step towards the unification of movements so that they are even stronger so that there is no contradiction between the movements that make up the CMA," said Zeid Ag Kery, a member of the civil society.

This latest move intends to bring a merger into a single unit with a common political objective.

"I believe that when these three movements (members of the CMA) unite as a single entity, I believe that it will give additional strength, in all areas, be it in the area of politics, especially in the area of security, especially in our regions, our people are subjected to extrajudicial abuses by extremist groups," said Salah Ag Ahmed Abba, a senior member of the MNLA.

This congress comes just days after the announcement by the Malian authorities, to integrate 26,000 ex-rebels into the national army.

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