Tuareg Rebels Declare Independence In North Mali
April 06, 2012
Tuareg rebels in Mali have officially proclaimed the independence of a territory they call Azawad in the north of the West African country.
The African Union rejected the proclamation as "null and of no value whatsoever."
Aided by Islamist militants, the rebels seized control of the mainly desert area -- larger than France -- late last month following a coup in the capital, Bamako.
In a declaration on April 6, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA) called on the international community to recognize the new nation and said it would respect the borders of neighboring states.
The MNLA includes Tuareg fighters returning from Libya where they backed former leader Muammar Qaddafi. Islamist militants meanwhile are seeking to impose Islamic Shari'a law in the north.
Humanitarian groups have warned that Mali is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe as thousands flee the unrest.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, dpa, and AP
Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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