Mali ‘at war’ with Tuareg rebels after intense battles

Mali ‘at war’ with Tuareg rebels after intense battles

Mali’s prime minister, Moussa Mara, has said his country is now “at war” with Tuareg separatists , following a battle between government forces and members of the nomadic rebel group that killed at least 36 people, the defence ministry said.

Mara made the statement on Sunday after clashes between the two sides in the northern city of Kidal on Saturday also caused at least 30 people to be taken hostage, according to Mali government officials.

“In light of this declaration of war, the Republic of Mali is henceforth at war,” Mara told the Reuters news agency. “We are going to formulate the appropriate response to the situation,” he said.

The fighting started on Saturday outside the regional governor’s offices as Mali’s prime minister visited the city of Kidal as part of his first tour of the country’s restive northern desert.

“During the fighting, eight members of the armed forces were killed and 25 were wounded while 28 of the attackers were killed,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

A source from the governor’s office told the AFP news agency that about 30 of the office’s personnel were reported missing.

“We do not know their fate. We also do not know exactly how many of them are being held by the rebels,” the official said….

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