Tuareg separatists, Malian army clash in northern town

Tuareg separatists and Malian soldiers have exchanged fire in the northern town of Kidal, residents and the regional governor said, in a sign of escalating tensions three days after MNLA rebels ended a ceasefire with the newly elected government.
Local security officials did not say if anyone was killed in the fighting.
The battle came a day after a suicide bombing killed at least four people and wounded several more near a military camp in Timbuktu.
Last week, separatist Tuareg rebels pulled out of peace talks with the government.
Mali\’s new president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who took office in August, has said restoring peace and security is his top priority.
Several militant groups, including the ethnic Tuareg, used the confusion after a military coup in the capital, Bamako, in March 2012 to assert control in the country\’s north, where they planned to establish an Islamist state.
The central government reasserted its control in northern Mali after a French-led military operation in January.
The militants are no longer able to carry out major military actions, but the residual groups of these fighters stage sporadic small-scale attacks in the north.
Source: Agencies
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