Africa  

Rivalry gangs kill 15 in Mali desert

Mali_pro-government_militiaNo fewer than 15 people have been killed in a fight between rival armed groups near Mali’s desert border with Algeria.

Attaye Mohammed, a representative of the separatist Coordinator of Azawad Movements (CMA), disclosed this on Friday.

Fighting resumed this morning in Inafarak where pro-government militias arrived recently to prepare an offensive against the CMA.’’

Mohammed said that 15 fighters died, including 13 from pro-government militias, while noting that the fight might escalate.

In the same vein, Medhi Almoubareck, spokesman for Platform’s largest group GATIA, said its fighters were assaulted by the CMA early on Thursday and had fought back.

He said 17 fighters died of which 14 were from CMA.

Reacting to the development, Radhia Achouri, Spokesperson for the UN Mission to Mali, said that the renewed fighting had dashed mediators’ hopes that the peace deal would bring a measure of stability.

Achouri said that the stability would have allow the government and supporting regional and western powers to focus on combating Islamist militants also active in the area.

Security forces say that the battle for positions among armed groups is motivated partly by competition for control of smuggling routes through the desert to Algeria and Niger.

The routes are famous for trafficking cocaine and arms as well as traditional trade.



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