Sunday, 1 April 2012

Victory declared by Azawad rebels!

WITH the liberation of Timbuktu, rebels have proclaimed an astonishing victory in the Sahara Desert.

The political bureau of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (Mouvement National De Liberation de l'Azawad - MNLA) issued a statement on Sunday April 1 speaking of an unprecedented day in the history of its people.

The successful battle began in January, as Vast Minority reported at the time.

The political fight for a free Azawad turned into an armed conflict after brutal attacks on the population by the US-backed state of Mali.

On January 17 armed resistance fighters attacked military compounds in Menaka, Adaramboukare and Tessalit in the north of the African country.

Fighting continued for some time and there was a serious clash at Aguelhok.

The Mali state flooded the area with tanks, aircraft and troops and more fighting broke out on the morning of Thursday January 26.

But the Malian army suffered heavy losses and was forced to retreat - events which then led to a military coup in the south

Mossa Ag Attaher, spokesman for the MNLA, told French newspaper Le Monde back in January that the aim of the struggle was to liberate Azawad from Malian colonialism.

He explained that Azawad consisted of three regions currently part of Mali - Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal.

The MNLA was fighting for the aspirations of the Touareg people and also those of the Songhai, Peuls and Moors.

They had a right to choose their own form of government, to self-determination and, if they so desired, to independence, he said. 

The MNLA is the result of a fusion between the Mouvement National de l'Azawad (MNA), a group of young intellectuals and political activists, and the guerrillas of the former Alliance Touareg Niger Mali (ATNM).

These elements were joined by groups of former Touareg rebels who fled Mali in the 1990s to join the Libyan army and returned to Azawad, with plenty of weaponry, during the NATO war on the Gaddafi regime.