Touareg rebellion in Mali is on
Started yesterday, when rebels cut the phone lines and attacked Menaka.
Combats dans la ville de Ménaka, dans le nord du Mali - Mali - RFI with an eyewitness report
Malian army fought back, bombing tuareg positions with choppers from Gao.
Some confusion after, where MNLA claim to have their flags over the city while Bamako claims to have retaken it.
There is fighting in other towns as well, and MNLA has set their objectives on taking Adaramboukare, Tessalit, and Timbuktu.
They are led by Moussa Ag Acharatoumane who is in Paris using satellite phone
Ménaka: 1ère ville sous le contrôle du MNLA
AFP: Mali army bombs Tuareg rebels, four arrested: military
Tuareg rebels, including former pro-Gadhafi fighters, attack towns in north Mali - The Washington Post
UPDATE 1-Mali says several killed in Tuareg attack | Reuters
MNLA spokesman Hama Ag Sidi Ahmed announces new revolt, saying they were provoked by the movement of Malian troops (to TinZ).
MNLA | Facebook
Mouvement National pour la Liberation de l'Azawad
MNLA say they have taken Aguelhoc and are moving towards Tessalit
Nouvelle offensive des rebelles touaregs dans le nord du Mali - Mali - RFI
Nord-Mali : après Ménaka, les rebelles touaregs attaquent Aguelhok et Tessalit | Jeuneafrique.com
BBC News also reports:
BBC News - Dozens of Tuareg rebels dead in Mali clash, says army
Tuaregs claim to have taken down one aircraft, say many casualties on both sides
they had all of Tessalit except for the barracks, and only due to the presence of Algerian military
Mort du Colonel-Major Ould Meydou; Adaramboukare, Tessit, Ntillit, et Aguelhoc sous le contrôle du MNLA
they will pull back and make more raids later, like in the last rebellions
Malian army says 45 dead rebels 2 army casualties.....and to have retaken the cities
This time there is no Qadafi to step in....golden opportunity for Algeria to step in - but will they?
edit - the above photo turns out to be from a burnt truck in Niger 2008 http://tomathon.com/mphp/2012/01/fre...to-of-a-truck/
raising doubts against MNLA's claim of having taken down one Mig and a helicopter.
Touaregs fighting touaregs
Touareg rebellion-au-nord-mali-touaregs-de-kaddafi-fight for-Bamako
Niger's Issofou warns of touareg rebellion
but at the same time launches a development plan
and he has seen to have touareg representation in the government
"Mohamed Anako, a figurehead of the Tuareg rebels active in the 1990s, made what he called an "urgent appeal" to Malian Tuaregs seeking autonomy in their desert region "to favour dialogue over violence".
"The current situation in neighbouring Mali rightly worries us," said Anako who is now head of the Agadez regional council."
Portrait of one leader - these touaregs returning from Libya after 10-20-30 years with Khadafi may be a new breed of fighters
40+ dead soldiers in Aguelhoc. Touaregs strike, then withdraw, waiting for reinforcements of Malian troops to arrive they can ambush. At this rate, Malian army may have a hard time finding willing recruits. But according to rapports, many of these soldiers were Imghad touaregs.
MNLA have taken Adaramboukare and Lere.
Harcelé et vaincu à Adjelhoc, Aderamboukare, et Léré, le Mali continu sa recherche de soutiens
Thousands of civilians and also Malian soldiers running for their lives finding refuge in Niger
Mali : civils et militaires se réfugient au Niger - Niger / Mali - RFI
also to Mauretania and Malian camps.
Touaregs and Mali FM meeting in Algiers
Rébellion Touareg : Retour à la case Alger - Actualité - El Watan
but the leaders of the MNLA are not present.
"Huge movement" of touaregs and arabs leaving Bamako, after there has been attacks (several homes and a tuareg clinic pillaged in Kati). The protests in the streets are lead by relatives of Malian soldiers complaining about the lack of equipment and support from Bamako.
UPDATE 1-Mali capital paralysed by anti-rebellion protests | News by Country | Reuters
In Niger president Issofou launched a development program for Agadez region, to be run by touaregs
who have therefore forcefully distanced themselves from the rebellion in Mali.
update from gao
Just got back from a short journey up to Gao. The situation is tense in the North, but the road to Gao itself is clear. Private vehicles are discouraged of course, but traveling on public buses is no problem. Gao is under heavy military presence, patrols of miitary in the street every night. North of Gao to Kidal, the route is unsure. Adagh Voyage is still making its run to Kidal, but one way -- cars are full coming into Gao, but empty returning to Kidal. People are reporting to be crying/pleaing for seats on buses to leave Kidal. Many of the posts along the route have been abandoned. Equally so south to Niamey -- the police have abandoned their post at the border and moved it North to Ansongo. For the 90 kilometers south from Ansongo to the border, there is no military. A few of the posts are guarded by Ganda Koy militas. But the territory is effectively Azawad.
It's difficult to ascertain rumour from fact. Every phone call in Mali now is preceded by the obligatory inquiry -- 'is everything alright in Gao/Kidal/Timbouctou'. Cities continue to be attacked. Niafounke, for example, is under constant siege every night. Kidal was given an ultimatum -- civilians were told to leave the city by Feb. 4th -- and the other night, there was mortar fire (directed outward, by the military, fearing an attack). Rebels still hold Menaka, but Ganda Koy continues to patrol and secure the population.
The MNLA has recruited heavily from the Malian military, and Tamashek military are falling suspect. One young soldier was killed in Niafounke for apparently passing information for the rebels, whilst in fact he was talking with his girlfriend on the phone. Tamashek are fleeing Mali. Most everyone has fled Kidal, Sonrai leaving for Gao, Tamahsek crossing into Algeria. A huge group of refugees arrived at the Burkina border but are being held by authorities waiting to enter, ongoing discussion with ATT.
The president is pleading for calm in the face of attacks on Tuareg businesses in the south, fearing similar attacks on Bambara in the North. The rebellion itself is not drawn along ethnic lines, it's rumoured there are at least 30 Sonrai in the MNLA near Aguelhoc, and that former Ganda Koy fighters have joined the rebellion.
AQMI is an afterthought -- no one is talking about them (save that the second attack on Aguelhoc was rumoured to be an AQMI attack, not Tuareg, as 'they looked like Arabs'), except when it comes to foreigners. The lack of security makes it fairly easy for banditry and as there is a price on foreigners, one is advised to keep a low profile.
Governmental officials are taking the situation seriously. The rebellion is at a level not seen since the 1990s. Timbouctou Kel Ansar along with the Bambara ruling classes, initially trying to pass this off as Libyan banditry, now have a full rebellion on their hands. Casualties are being largely unreported (one source quoiting 115 military dead at Aguelhoc -- including civilian casualties who were attacked clearing the bodies). Public opinion amongst the Tuareg is swaying towards Azawad, but with a realization of the cost of the looming war, which most agree would be best avoided.
Hi Kirkley aka gentleman explorer, we met at sleeping camel.
I can only add that tension in Bamako is high, I was arrested last week and still don't have my passport back and last night 4 tourists from our hotel got held all night for not having their passports with them. The riots on thursday were concentrated around the presidential pallace and we only saw some burning car tyres.
Great to have these reports from Mali - many thanks to T-Bird and Kirkley. I've been reading about an exodus of 15000+ people to Niger and Mauri.
Can't help but think of the hostages in NE Mali. This latest has set them back many months - at least I would think. It all suits AQIM so well - clears the govt out of their patch.
The Causes of the Uprising in Northern Mali | Think Africa Press
Yes Chris, best ever analysis
Nord-Mali : les Bamakois jugent sévèrement la politique sécuritaire d'ATT
Insight: Arms and men out of Libya fortify Mali rebellion | Reuters
US postpones Mali military exercise amid attacks - Boston.com
Tuareg rebels take Mali border areaSome malian soldiers fled into Algeria.
Toumast Press | L’info du peuple Tamasheq vue par des Tamasheq
MNLA claims to have destroyed a malian army convoy to Tessalit and installing an administration in Tin Z..
They have their own media, facebook, youtube channel...
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