Mali Rebels Claim Control Of Kidal Base After UN Exit

Mali’s Tuareg rebels say they have taken over a base in the northern city of Kidal vacated by the UN peacekeepers on Tuesday.

The UN mission in Mali, Minusma, said it ended its presence in Kidal in a hurry after its last convoy of peacekeepers suffered two explosive attacks on the way to Gao, another key town in the north.

The Tuareg coalition claimed victory on social media, saying it was in control of the Kidal base.

A local official told AFP that the rebels occupied the camp immediately after it was vacated by the UN mission.

It was the third and last camp to be evacuated by the mission in the Kidal region, which has been hit by jihadist and separatist violence.

The other two camps were at Tessalit and Aguelhok.

The separatist groups, which had earlier agreed to a ceasefire with authorities, have recently resumed hostilities in the area. They oppose peacekeepers handing over their camps to the Malian army.

Mali’s military government has demanded that the UN force leave the country by the end of the year, saying its decade-long mission against Islamist militants had failed.

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