[QODLink]
Africa
Tuareg fighters abduct soldiers in Mali
Three soldiers kidnapped in latest attack by Tuareg fighters in their struggle for an independent state.
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2012 20:54
 

Tuareg fighters in Mali have abducted three government soldiers in the centre of the country, local officials say, in the largest Tuareg offensive since a 2009 rebellion demanding autonomy for the nomadic community.

"[Tuareg] rebels showed up on Friday in eight vehicles in the town of Tenenkou. They abducted three [army] guards and also took four service vehicles," Ely Toure, an official of the Mopti region, told AFP news agency on Friday.

"No shots were fired," Toure said, adding that "the rebels immediately left the area”.

Moussa Guindo, one of the town’s elected officials, said: "They came in a small convoy. They took some official vehicles as well as abducting three soldiers."

Mali crisis

The abductions are the latest in a series of attacks by the fighters since mid-January when several towns were raided and tens of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes.

Rights group Amnesty International said that the military offensive was causing the worst humanitarian and human rights crisis in the country in twenty years.

The nomadic Tuareg community, of various tribes scattered between Algeria, Burkina Faso, Libya, Mali and Niger, have been fighting for recognition of their identity and for an independent state with uprisings in the 1960s, 1990s and early 2000 with several resurgences between 2006 and 2009.

Doctors Without Borders said in a statement on Wednesday that Malian refugees, who have been forced to seek refuge in the border region of Mauritania due to the conflict, now face the threat of food shortages.

"We are in the middle of the desert in an area where water is a scarce commodity," said Marie-Christine Férir, a Doctors Without Borders emergency co-ordinator in Mali.

"Even more alarming, these people are isolated here. The nearest hospital is six hours away by road."

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
NSA whistleblower Snowden and journalist Greenwald accuse Wellington of mass spying on New Zealanders.
Whatever the referendum's outcome, energy created by the grassroots independence campaign has changed Scottish politics.
Traders and farmers struggle to cope as restrictions on travel prevent them from doing business and attending to crops.
Unique mobile messaging service, mMitra, helps poor pregnant women in Mumbai fight against maternal mortality.
Influential independence figure has been key in promoting Scottish nationalism, but will his efforts succeed?
join our mailing list