Strikes Kill Civilians In Key Mali Town, Army Blamed

Strikes attributed to Mali’s army on Tuesday killed several civilians, including children, in the strategic town of Kidal, potentially foreshadowing a coming battle in the rebel stronghold

Bamako, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 7th Nov, 2023) Strikes attributed to Mali‘s army on Tuesday killed several civilians, including children, in the strategic town of Kidal, potentially foreshadowing a coming battle in the rebel stronghold.

The Permanent Strategic Framework (CSP), an alliance of predominantly Tuareg armed groups, said in a statement that 14 people had died, including eight children gathered in front of a school.

It said they were killed by Turkish-made drones belonging to Mali‘s army.

Residents and witnesses, speaking mostly on condition of anonymity out of safety concerns, said between six and nine people died.

“Six people, including children, were killed by air strikes by the Malian army,” said one health worker. “In the hospital, we have injured people.”

Malian authorities did not respond to AFP’s request for comment.

On Saturday, the army said on social media that it had “neutralised” a certain number of targets a day earlier using air power.

The targets were operating inside a camp near Kidal that was vacated last week by the UN‘s stabilisation mission, it said.

Tuesday’s incident marked the first killings in the town of Kidal since the Tuareg-dominated rebel groups resumed hostilities in August.

Fears of a confrontation in the town — long a centre of defiance and launching point for independence rebellions — have been building for some time.

The insubordination of the town and of the Kidal region, where the army suffered humiliating defeats between 2012 and 2014, poses a major sovereignty issue for the junta-led government.

Since seizing power in 2020, Mali‘s military rulers have made the restoration of sovereignty their mantra.

But Kidal is controlled by the separatist rebel groups.

They launched an insurgency in 2012 and agreed to a ceasefire in 2014 and a peace deal in 2015, before taking up arms again in August.

The independence uprising in 2012 coincided with insurgencies by radical Islamist groups.

Unlike the rebels, the militants have never stopped fighting the state, plunging Mali into a political, security and humanitarian crisis that has spread to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.


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