December 6, 2023

Mali: Tuareg rebels seize army bases, weapons in central town of Lere

Fresh clashes erupted between the Malian army and northern Tuareg rebels on Sunday, with the insurgents claiming possession of two army bases in the central town of Lere.

The Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), a rebel group in the West African country, has been fighting the army since August, a conflict sparked in part by the departure of a United Nations peacekeeping operation that had helped maintain a delicate peace for years.

However, hostilities appear to be growing as both parties vie for control of land in different parts of Mali just as United Nations peacekeepers leave.

CMA, a coalition of Tuareg separatist groups, said last week that it had attacked four army positions near Bourem and parted with trucks, guns, and ammunition.

In response to the incident, Mali’s armed forces announced late Sunday on social media platform X that an attack had occurred in Lere and that a response was underway, without providing further information.

No one was killed or injured in the clashes, according to either side.

The Tuaregs have long protested about neglect from the government as they continue to push for autonomy for the Azawad desert region.

The groups who signed a peace agreement with the Malian government in 2015, declared itself at war with Mali this week.

It said in a statement that it temporarily took control of Bourem and killed 97 Malian soldiers in the recent face off.

The Malian army rejected the claim, saying it only lost 10 soldiers and “neutralized” 46 “terrorists” in the incident.

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