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article imageTuareg rebels in Mali pull out of peace deal

By Ken Hanly     Sep 26, 2013 in Politics
Bamako - After the French drove Islamists out of northern Mali, Tuareg separatists who had supported the French re-established effective control in some areas particularly in the city of Kidal
In June of this year the Tuareg negotiated an accord that allowed the Malian government to return to areas controlled by the Tuareg including Kidal and also for elections to take place later. However, the group now accuses the Malian government of not keeping the terms of the accord. Three Tuareg groups who were meeting in neighboring Burkina Faso called for an emergency meeting of parties to the peace agreement to settle outstanding issues.
The Malian president Boubacar Keita hopes to stabilize Mali after the French drove out the Islamists from the north. Mossa Ag Acharatoumang, who is a founding member of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) claims that the Malian government has not lived up to the agreement signed in June in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso: "Everything that they promised us in the accord has not been respected," he told the Associated Press news agency.
Neither the Malian government nor the UN peacekeeping mission stationed in Mali have commented as yet on the Tuareg decision. The Tuareg complain that the government has failed to even start prisoner releases that were part of the peace accord. Other observers point out that the Tuareg fighters have moved outside their bases in Kidal. According to the deal, the Tuareg were supposed to garrison their fighters to avoid conflicts.
The Tuareg in 2012 made considerable gains in the north and inflicted heavy casualties on Malian forces. After the military coup on 21 March 2012 by US-trained Captain Sanagou, they gained even more territory. The coup was almost universally condemned and sanctions were imposed upon the regime. On April 6, the junta turned over the government to civilians but behind the scenes still had a great deal of control. Meanwhile after disagreements with the MNLA, Islamist groups were able to wrest control from the Tuareg and occupy most of northern Mali. By 17 July 2012, the MNLA had lost control of most of northern Mali's cities to the Islamists. As the Islamists threatened to take more territory, France intervened on January 11, 2013 and was joined by African Union forces as well as the Malian army. By February 8, the Islamists had been driven out of most of the northern territory. Should negotiations with the Tuareg fail, there could be renewed conflict in the north at least in some areas.
More about Mali, Azawad, mali peace process
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