Tuareg rebels in Mali yesterday announced the creation of their own state called Azawad in the country's vast desert hinterland, reports the BBC, but with the African Union and neighboring countries firmly opposed to breaking up its member states, the chances of Azawad succeeding are "slim," notes the New York Times. Despite an absence of support for the Tuaregs' new country, Mali's disarray from the coup last month has left the state unable to re-take control over the Tuareg region any time soon.
In a statement by the upstart Azawad government on its website (in French), the rebels proclaimed “irrevocably the independent state of Azawad, starting from this day, Friday April 6, 2012,” reports the Washington Post. But already there are signs infighting among the rebels, with one Islamist faction declaring it opposes independence because it is "not in the name of Islam." The Tuaregs, a nomadic people who have lived in the desert for hundreds of years, claim parts of Mali, Niger, and Algeria for Azawad.