- Title: MALI-FIGHTING Separatist rebels prepare to fight for Tabankort in northern Mali
- Date: 18th February 2015
- Summary: TABANKORT, MALI (FEBRUARY 16, 2015) (REUTERS) SOLDIERS FROM PRO-AZAWAD COALITION (CMA) / PICK UP TRUCKS ON FIELD VARIOUS OF CMA FIGHTER ON PICK-UP TRUCK WITH HEAVY WEAPON VARIOUS OF CMA FIGHTERS WITH AMMUNITION PICK-UP TRUCK WITH HEAVY WEAPONS BULLET CASINGS VARIOUS OF PICK-UP TRUCKS WITH CMA SOLDIERS GOING TOWARDS TABANKORT TOWN CMA FIGHTER LOOKING THROUGH BINOCULARS TOWARDS ENEMY LINES NEAR TABANKORT FIGHTERS / PICK-UP TRUCKS AMMUNITION ROUND CMA FIGHTERS / PICK-UP TRUCKS SOLDIER WITH WEAPON VARIOUS OF SOLDIER FIRING TOWARDS FIGHTERS IN TABANKORT HELICOPTER FLYING OVER CMA MILITARY POSITIONS PICK-UP TRUCKS COMMANDER OF CMA OPERATIONS IN TABANKORT, RHISSA AG AKLI (SOUNDBITE) (Tamashek) COMMANDER OF CMA OPERATIONS IN TABANKORT, RHISSA AG AKLI, SAYING: "GATIA are nothing but a battalion of the Malian army made up of Azawadians, which was redirected here after their defeat in Kidal." PICK-UP TRUCKS ADVANCING CMA FIGHTER ON PICK-UP TRUCK FIRING HEAVY WEAPON CMA FIGHTER CMA FIGHTER FIGHTING WEAPON CMA FIGHTER ON PICK-UP TRUCK FIRING HEAVY WEAPON
- Reuters ID: LVA12RLHKAF8CWDE02KCZ6AIYTW2
- Location: Mali
- Country: Mali
- Duration: 00:02:07
- Topics: General
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: Hundreds of pro-Azawad gunmen amassed outside the northern Malian town of Tabankort on Monday (February 16), in a show of force as they prepared for combat to take the long-disputed town from pro-government forces.
Tabankort, a town 1,000 km (600 miles) north of Bamako has repeatedly come under attack from fighters from the Coalition of Movements for Azawad (CMA), which includes fighters from the main Tuareg rebel group MNLA.
The Tuareg and Arab separatists have been trying to take the town from the hands of pro-government fighters in repeated deadly attacks over the last few months.
A CMA commander said he was confident the town could be taken from the GATIA forces, one of the main pro-government factions.
"GATIA are nothing but a battalion of the Malian army made up of Azawadians, which was redirected here after their defeat in Kidal," said CMA Commander Ag Akli, speaking on the outskirts of Tabankort.
At least four U.N. peacekeepers were wounded by a blast on Sunday (February 15) near Tabankort.
Fighting between rival armed groups vying to control Tabankort has broken out several times in January, prompting the U.N. peacekeeping mission MINUSMA to carry out air strikes on Tuareg rebel forces.
The incident, which separatists called a violation of a ceasefire deal, threatened to derail the peace talks in Algiers over the future of northern Mali.
Mali's government and Tuareg-led rebels resumed U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Algeria on Monday in pursuit of an accord to end uprisings by separatists seeking more self-rule for the northern region they call Azawad.
Decades of mistrust and recent intensified fighting between rebels and government-allied militias have complicated attempts to reach a comprehensive deal on Mali's desert north.
Western governments are keen for a durable peace, fearing Islamist militants will again use the turmoil in the north to gain a foothold, two years after French troops intervened to drive them back.
The weak Bamako government is struggling to restore its authority on northern zones where a medley of armed groups operate as well as al-Qaeda-linked Islamists who briefly occupied the region in 2012.
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- Embargoed:5th March 2015 12:00