Malian Touareg rebels vow more violence

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The March 8 release of 22 Malian soldiers, by touareg gunmen led by Brahim Bahanga has not done much to calm down the Malian crisis. Touareg insurgents in Mali led by Ibrahim Ag Bahanga, in a staement last week, said they would carry out their threats of more clashes against the regular Malian army if their demands were not met after negotiations.

from Kaci Racelma our North African Correspondent

The touareg rebels complained about the silent treatment and disrespect they have been subjected to from the Malian government following their legitimate demands. These demands include; an improvement in socio-economic conditions of the northern people; a representation of the northern people in national politics; the inclusion of touaregs in national institutions including a representation within the diplomatic corps.

The failure of the last round of negotiations resulted in violent confrontations between the rebels and army forces killing an unconfirmed number of people, after a six month armistice overseen by the Algerian government.

Brahim Bahanga and his men from the northern tribe of Kidal have vowed to continue fighting if the Malian government does not apply the agreement signed in Algiers on the 4th of July between the two parties. This vow was confirmed last week, March 22, when unknwon sources claimed the rebels were believed to be behind the an attack on an army patrol 30 km north of Abeibara, close to the Algerian border.

The Algerian government working towards regional stability is expected to intervene diplomatically in the crises which has a consequence created a haven for smugglers and terrorists in the region.

In parallel, the two abducted Austrian tourists are said to be kept in the region according to Hassan Fagaga, a former touareg military commander.

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