Mali pro-government armed groups seize northern town of Menaka

Pro-government armed groups in Mali seized the northern town of Menaka from Tuareg separatists on Monday during fierce fighting, a spokesman for the group and a resident said.
The clashes come after months of relative calm and risk derailing a fragile United Nations peace process that aims to settle the future of Mali’s desert north, known by separatists as Azawad.
The vast region has been hit by insurgencies over the last five decades, with rebels fighting for independence or a form of self-rule from the government in the south.
The most recent uprising in 2012 came when Tuareg rebels formed an alliance with Islamist militants to briefly seize control of the northern two-thirds of Mali.
Militants from the Gatia pro-government group and the Arab Azawad Movement (MAA), a faction of a northern Arab militia also favorable to the government camp, attacked the town on Monday morning, a Gatia spokesman said.
The raid was in retaliation for attacks on the group’s supporters, including the lynching of several women, he said.

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