`Around 50 soldiers killed in recent fighting in Mali`s north`
Dakar: Malian Defence Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga has said around 50 soldiers had been killed during recent fighting with armed rebels in the northern desert town of Kidal.
"We have about 50 killed, unfortunately, and 48 injured. We don`t know the toll of the other side but we know they also suffered losses," Maiga told the public broadcaster ORTM yesterday.
Armed groups including the Tuareg separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) humiliated Mali`s army in a deadly offensive across the northern desert last week which saw them seize control of Kidal, 1,500 kilometres (900 miles) northeast of Bamako.
Maiga denied that the smaller settlement of Menaka was also under rebel control, but admitted the army was "cohabiting" with armed groups in the town 660 kilometres (410 miles) from Kidal.
"Aside from Kidal we are holding all our positions in the Kidal region, that is Tessalit, Aguelhok, and then in the Gao region in Menaka, Ansongo, Almoustarat," he said.
The Mali government on Friday signed a ceasefire deal with the MNLA as well as the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUC) and the Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA) after mediation by the African Union.
Kidal is the cradle of Mali`s Tuareg separatist movement, which wants independence for a vast swathe of northern desert it calls "Azawad" and has launched several rebellions since the 1960s.
The MNLA ended a nine-month occupation of the Kidal governor`s offices in November last year as one of the conditions of a June peace deal that paved the way for presidential elections.
But the process deeply divided the MNLA, whose ultimate goal is the independence of Azawad.
Up until the agreement, the Tuareg group had refused to allow any government soldiers or civil servants into Kidal.
The country descended into crisis in January 2012, when the MNLA launched the latest in a string of Tuareg insurgencies in the north, which the army was ill-equipped to defend.
A subsequent coup in Bamako led to chaos, and militants linked to al-Qaeda overpowered the Tuareg to seize control of Mali`s northern desert.
A French-led military operation launched in January 2013 ousted the extremists, but sporadic attacks have continued and the Tuareg demand for autonomy has not been resolved.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- One year of Modi govt: PM promises to fulfil aspirations
- Watch: Mumbai cops find new secret agents in housewives!
- Hundreds die as heat wave continues in India
- 2G scam: Ex-TRAI chief alleges Manmohan Singh had warned him to cooperate
- Pranab Mukherjee defends Bofors scam, says it was just a media trial
- Salman Khan attends sister Arpita's wedding reception in Mandi
- Zee Media's mega survey on Modi govt
- Zee Media Exclusive: Vidya Balan chats about 'Hamari Adhuri Kahani'
- Para athlete Deepa Malik complains of callous service by Air India
- I eat beef, can somebody stop me?: Kiren Rijiju hits back at Naqvi
- Smriti Irani visits Amethi, promises to pay insurance money to 25,000 women
- Delhi: Visually impaired boy scores 91.4% in CBSE 12th Board exams
- One year of Modi govt: Amit Shah addresses media
- MP: 14-year-old boy works as bonded labour since 2009
- UP: Man chops off wife's nose, hair for dowry
- One year of NDA govt: PM Modi writes open letter to nation, promises to transform India
- Arpita-Aayush wedding reception: Salman Khan spreads love in Mandi, says `hum aapke hain`
- World optimistic about India: PM Narendra Modi on 1 year of NDA govt
- MSBSHSE Class 12th HSC results 2015 to be declared at 1pm tomorrow
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 to be announced on May 28
- Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at one year of Modi govt, wishes 'happy birthday' to 'suit-boot ki sarkar'
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- Bharatiya Janata Party lacks majority for Ram Temple, Article 370: Amit Shah
- AAP govt moves resolution against MHA notification: As it happened
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in
- Heatwave kills 90 more in Andhra, Telangana; toll crosses 800
- I was misquoted, says Kiren Rijiju on 'beef' remark
- Gujjars adamant on holding talks in Bayana; rail tracks remain blocked
- CBSE 10th result to be declared tomorrow