Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus : Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

"What would you do?"

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

FOCUS

As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

Read more

#TECH 24

Internet of Things

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

  • Israel warns of ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • France offers asylum to Iraqi Christians

    Read more

  • Tripoli threatened by out of control blaze

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al-Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay Yukos shareholders over $50bn in damages

    Read more

  • French mayor files complaint against US father who risked kids’ lives on Mont Blanc

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

  • Luc Besson’s sci-fi thriller ‘Lucy’ tops US box office

    Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

  • Thousands gather in Marseille in support of Israel

    Read more

  • As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

    Read more

  • Liberia tightens border controls to curb Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • The centenary of Austria-Hungary’s calamitous last hurrah

    Read more

  • Nibali joins elite group with Tour de France win

    Read more

Africa

Mali rebel group splits, one faction ready for talks

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-01-24

Following two weeks of joint French-Malian military action to flush out Islamist militants in northern Mali, the country's rebel group Ansar Dine has split in two, with the breakaway faction ready for peace talks, it said on Thursday.

A faction of one of the armed Islamist groups occupying the north of the Mali has split off from its al Qaeda allies and says it is willing to hold talks with the government, the leader of the new group said on Thursday.

Alghabass Ag Intallah, a senior member of the Tuareg-led Ansar Dine group which helped seize northern Mali last year from government forces, said he had created a new organisation, the Islamic Movement of Azawad (MIA), and was ready to seek a negotiated solution to Mali's conflict.

A French-led military operation is underway in Mali to drive back the Islamist fighters who launched a surprise push southward toward the capital Bamako two weeks ago. An African ground force is being deployed to support French and Malian troops.

"We want to wage our war and not that of AQIM," Ag Intallah said by telephone, referring to al Qaeda's North African wing which has been at the heart of the takeover of the vast desert north by Malian and foreign Islamist fighters.

"There has to be a ceasefire so there can be talks," he said, speaking from the town of Kidal, a Tuareg stronghold in northeast Mali seized by Ansar Dine last year. "The aim is to speak about the situation in the north."

He said the new group, which would be based in Kidal, had been in touch with mediators in Burkina Faso and Algerian authorities. He said rebel demands would be for a broad autonomy rather than independence for the north.

Ansar Dine had formed a loose alliance with AQIM and a third group, MUJWA, to impose sharia Islamic law in the desert and mountain area the size of Texas.

It was not immediately possible to confirm how many fighters would leave the ranks of Ansar Dine to join the new group.

International negotiators have long sought to prize apart the Islamist alliance by offering talks to Ansar Dine and Tuareg separatists, on the condition that they broke with AQIM. Ag Intallah was a senior Ansar Dine negotiator in talks last year.

But preliminary negotiations broke down last month after Ansar Dine called off a ceasefire, amid reports of splits between moderates seeking a political solution and radicals with deep links to al Qaeda.

Ag Intallah would not give a figure for his supporters, as he said a list was still being drawn up, but he said most Malians in the ranks of Ansar Dine had joined his faction.

Estimates for the total number of Islamist fighters in Mali vary but do not exceed roughly 3,000.

Ag Intallah said some members of the Tuareg separatist MNLA movement, which has fought AQIM in the north, had also joined his group.

A spokesman for the MNLA was not immediately available for comment. 

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2013-01-24

  • MALI

    Aid groups warn of humanitarian crisis in Mali's north

    Read more

  • FRANCE 24 EXCLUSIVE

    Mali's army may be behind abuses, France says

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Egypt’s Morsi opposes French intervention in Mali

    Read more

COMMENT(S)