Militant Advances in Mali
A group of Arab militants have taken over control of a town close to Timbuktu in Mali, whilst a new group of Islamist militants are currently amassing outside Kidal.
French forces recently led an international effort to take back control of northern Mali from Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels and return it to the national government in southern Mali. The rebellion in Northern Mali was originally started by Tuareg rebels from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), who then formed an allegiance with Islamist militant groups before being pushed aside. Many fighters from the MNLA crossed over to join the Islamists, and then promptly left again to join other groups when the French invaded. Ethnic Tuareg claim that they are discriminated against by the national government in Bamako