NIGER: Rebel chief reported killed
This is for info for anyone travelling in the northern Niger/Lybian border area. This was released by the UN yesterday.
ABIDJAN, 21 September (IRIN) - The head of the rebel Saharan Armed Revolutionary Forces (FARS - Forces armees revolutionnaires du Sahara) in Niger has died in violent clashes with government forces near the Libyan border, AFP reported state radio as saying.
The report said FARS leader Chahayi Barkaye was killed just over a week ago. There were no details of other casualties but, according to the radio, 12 rebels were captured during the two-hour confrontation between government forces and several hundred rebels. The army recovered sixteen 4x4 vehicles - some equipped with heavy machine guns - rocket launchers, anti-personnel mines, assault rifles and communications equipment, the radio said.
FARS is the only group which has refused to disarm in keeping with a peace accord signed by the government and Tuareg and Toubou rebel groups in 1995, AFP quoted a military source as saying.
The agreement gave amnesty to all those involved in the war, which began in the early 90s, while demobilised rebels were to be integrated in the army and public service. However some fighters, disappointed by the slow implementation of the accord, resumed attacks on military targets in 1997 until a new peace deal was signed later that year.