Ansar Dine Islamists are destroying mausoleums in Timbuktu deemed un-Islamic, witnesses said Saturday. The militants, who have established strict Islamic law in areas seized after a March coup, ousted rival Tuareg rebels from the city on Thursday.
Mali's Tuareg MNLA rebels withdrew from Timbuktu on the orders of rival militant group Ansar Dine, reports said Friday. Ansar Dine has instituted strict Islamic law in several northern cities jointly seized by the groups after a March 22 coup.
A gun battle between Tuareg separatists and al Qaeda-linked Islamists in northern Mali on Wednesday resulted in at least 20 deaths, say witnesses. The battles follow weeks of growing tensions after the two groups seized the territory in April.
Mali Islamist group Ansar Dine agreed Monday to hold talks on the fate of the northern half of the country, which they seized with the help of Tuareg rebels in early April. However, it faces demands from mediators to sever all ties with al-Qaeda.
In the course of an eventful life, Iyad Ag Ghali, head of the al Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine, has been a rebel, diplomat, negotiator and Islamist militant. In his latest avatar, he could also now determine the future of northern Mali.
"The deserts of northern Mali are a breeding ground for Islamic terrorism". That's the warning from French President François Hollande, who has been holding talks with the President of Niger. Mali's neighbour has been drawn into the fallout from the crisis next door - a failed coup and a takeover by separatists and Islamists in Mali's north have forced thousands of soldiers to flee across the border into Niger. France 24 went there to find out more.
French President François Hollande warned Monday that “terrorists” may be trying to set up camps in northern Mali, raising fears that the vast territory taken by Tuareg rebels and their militant Islamist ally could turn into a new haven for Al-Qaeda.
Clashes broke out in northern Mali Friday between separatist group MNLA and their sometime-allies, the Islamists Ansar Dine, after the two fell out over forming a breakaway state in the desert region they control, raising fears of widening chaos.
Officials from ECOWAS, the African Union and the UN Thursday agreed on the need for the AU to make "a formal request" for UN backing to re-establish Mali's territorial integrity. Northern Mali is currently controlled by feuding armed groups.
Human Rights Watch accuses Rwanda of backing rebel soldiers in the west of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kigali denies the accusations. Next, we analyse the role of ECOWAS, the economic block of West African Nations, currently leading efforts to find a solution to the Malian crisis. Finally, as athletes prepare for the London Olympics, we meet a boxer from Burkina Faso.