Mali rebels declare sovereignty
BAMAKO, MaliMali’s Tuareg rebels declared independence on April 6 in the north, a move shot down by Islamist insurgents and the international community, as fears loomed of a humanitarian disaster.
Africa and Europe roundly rejected the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad’s (MNLA) declaration of independence as a chorus of calls mounted for a solution to the crisis which has split the coup-wracked nation in two. Britain said it was temporarily closing its embassy in Mali due to the “unstable” situation and “lack of constitutional rule”. A democratic success since its last coup 21 years ago, Mali is now roughly divided into a rebel-controlled north and junta-controlled south and a group of radical Islamists have exploited the chaos to swoop in and install sharia law.
The Islamist group, Ansar Dine, moved in alongside the MNLA but has given short shrift to their independence plans. “Our war is a holy war. It’s a legal war in the name of Islam. We are against rebellions. We are against independence. We are against revolutions not in the name of Islam,” Ansar Dine military chief Omar Hamaha told Agence France-Presse.