Mali’s northern rebels claim control of military camp

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s northern Tuareg rebels said on Wednesday that they had seized another military base from the Malian army, bringing to five the number of conquered and pillaged camps in recent weeks.

Mohamed Elmaouloud Ramadane, a spokesperson for the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), told Reuters that his fighters had taken control of the Malian army camp in Taoussa after fighting. There was no immediate statement from the army.

The CMA is an alliance of rebel groups formed by Mali’s semi-nomadic Tuareg people, who have long complained of government neglect and sought autonomy for the desert region they call Azawad.

The CMA signed a peace deal with the previous government and pro-government militia in 2015. But tensions have resurfaced since the military consolidated power in two coups in 2020 and 2021, teamed up with Russian military contractor Wagner Group, and kicked out French forces and U.N. peacekeepers.

Fighting has picked up again since August.

The CMA attack on Taoussa follows those on military bases in Bamba, Lere, Dioura and Bourem in recent weeks, all in northern and central Mali where both sides seek to control territory.

Ramadane also said that the CMA had attacked the army near the village of Tarkint on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Nick Macfie)