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Message Subject Watch as it Develops - The Staged War Against Islamists in Northern Mali
Poster Handle Anonymous Coward
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Analysts have said the new MNLA action in northern Mali reflects a desire by the group to play a role in combating terrorism in the region.

“However, the group should have played this role months ago when they had a strong presence in northern Mali cities,” commented Amadou Diarra, a journalist at Mali’s L’Essor daily.

“We shouldn’t ignore the new developments that prompted the group [the MNLA] to resort to armed action against the terrorists,” he added. “This includes the group’s feeling that the world is interested in negotiating with the Islamist Ansar al-Din, and therefore, the Touareg movement rushed to seize a major city in the north to strike a new field balance that would allow it to negotiate out of a strong position parallel to Ansar al-Din.”

Menaka residents who fled the area told AFP that the fighting left behind a bloodbath, with one security official describing it as “a real massacre”. Witnesses also said that the MNLA was routed after MUJAO was bolstered by reinforcements. Al-Qaeda fighters from Timbuktu were reportedly sent to help the Islamist group over the week-end in the Gao skirmishes.

[link to www.eurasiareview.com]
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