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Mali’s Touareg Insurgents Ask for Support to Battle “Terrorists”

July 13 (Bloomberg) -- A Touareg rebel movement in Mali called on the international community to help drive out “terrorist groups” from the north where it declared independence.

The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad said it’s been forced to “involuntarily cohabitate with terrorist groups” since its unilateral secession in April, according to a statement on its website yesterday from neighboring Burkina Faso. The group is “constantly aware of impending clashes with these destabilizing groups,” it said.

Islamist rebels seeking to impose Shariah law in the impoverished West African nation took control of key towns in the north after clashes with Touareg insurgents last month.

The Islamists, including a group linked to al-Qaeda and the Ansar ud-Din, “Defenders of the Faith,” initially collaborated with the Touareg rebels after the March 22 coup that ousted President Amadou Toure in the capital, Bamako.

No country has recognized the Touaregs’ declaration of independence.

The Economic Community of West African States has asked the United Nations Security Council for a mandate backing military intervention in the country.

French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius said today that intervention led by Africans is likely “at one moment or another,” Agence France-Presse reported yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pauline Bax in Accra at pbax@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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