[QODLink]
Africa
Tuareg blamed for deadly Mali raid
Men in 4x4 vehicles attack an army post close to Mali's border with Mauritania.
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2008 00:09 GMT

Tuareg fighters have attacked army posts and convoys for several months now in Mali

At least 20 people have been killed when Tuareg fighters attack an army post close to Mali's border with Mauritania.

The defence ministry said in a statement that Saturday's attack targeted an army outpost in the town of Nampala, located around 500 km northeast of the capital, Bamako.

The dead include nine security personnel and 11 assailants, with many more injured, the statement said.

The attack is likely to test a five-month ceasefire in the large, gold-producing West African nation.

Armed men in more than 20 four-wheel drive vehicles raided the post at Nampala, some 400km northeast of the capital Bamako before dawn, one source said.

IN DEPTH
Al Jazeera's exclusive
on Niger's Tuareg fighters
Hours after the attack, the rebel Tuareg Alliance for Change of Northern Mali, known by its French acronym of ATNMC, posted a statement on its website claiming responsibility for the incident.

Rebel spokesman Hama Ag Sid'Ahmed said in the statement the attack was intended to force the government into dialogue.

"So that we can move beyond the current impasse which has lasted for the past three years, we want the Malian authorities ... (to reinitiate) a real dialogue," the rebel statement said.

In July, Algeria brokered a ceasefire between Mali's government and the Tuareg rebels.

For more than a year Tuareg fighters have attacked army posts and convoys to press for greater rights for their people in the largely desert West African country.

But doubts remain about the participation of Bahanga, a veteran rebel chieftain seen as something of a rogue element in the Malian Tuareg uprising.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.