Islamic rule formed in northern Mali
Islamists rebels of Ansar Dine have joined Tuaregs to create a body to rule northern Mali as an Islamic state. AFP photoTuareg rebels and the Islamist rebel group Ansar Dine announced on May 26 they are joining forces and creating a body to rule northern Mali as an independent Islamic state.
“The Ansar Dine movement and the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (Tuareg MNLA) proclaim their dissolution in Azawad (northern Mali),” the two groups said in an agreement sent to Agence France-Presse. “The two movements have created the transitional council of the Islamic state of Azawad,” said the groups, which have been controlling the area for the past two months, in their “protocol agreement.”
“We are all in favor of the independence of Azawad,” they said, adding that “we all accept Islam as the religion.” The accord marks a major turning point for northern Mali which has slipped out of the government’s control since a March coup. In January, the Tuareg rebels launched an offensive against the Malian army, which was heightened with the arrival on the scene of Ansar Dine, which wants Islamic Sharia law imposed throughout the land-locked west African nation. A coup by Captain Amadou Sanogo and a group of low-ranking officers ousted the government in Bamako on March 22, saying it was incompetent in handling the Tuareg rebellion.