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Tuarag rebels declare independence

April 6, 2012 - Mali

Tuareg rebels of north Mali's National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) have announced the 'independence of Azawad' through their website, and through a spokesman on France 24 television.

According to The Telegraph, Ag Attaher said, "We solemnly proclaim the independence of Azawad as from today". He also added that the rebels would respect the borders with other states.

Armed Islamists had forcefully entered the Algerian consulate in northeastern Mali and abducted seven diplomats on Thursday amid fears that Al Qaeda-linked fighters were turning the country into a rogue state and fuelling a humanitarian crisis.

The fundamentalist comrades-turned-rivals started imposing sharia law in parts of Northern Mali after the Tuareg announced the success of a decades-old struggle to 'liberate' their homeland.

The MNLA said they would stop all military operations from midnight on Thursday as a result of their successful conquest of an area they call Azawad.

Ag Attaher declared, "We completely accept the role and responsibility that behoves us to secure this territory. We have ended a very important fight, that of liberation ... now the biggest task commences".


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