As African Coalition Enters Mali, Rebels Splinter
Branch of al-Qaeda-linked group calls for peace talks
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2013 9:34 AM CST
A Malian soldier takes position in the outskirts of Sevare, Mali, some 385 miles north of Bamako yesterday.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

(Newser) – Less than two weeks after France started airstrikes in rebel-held Mali, and a day after thousands of African coalition troops began to enter the country, one rebel faction has broken away from Islamic militants and called for peace talks, reports the AP. One wing of al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine, calling itself Islamic Movement for the Azawad, said it "rejected all forms of extremism and terrorism and was committed to fighting them." A Mali official said that many of Ansar Dine's followers were just political and economic allies, not true radicals. "They never believed in this ideology. Now they are running for the exits," said the official.

Meanwhile, concern is growing over accusations that Malian troops have been summarily killing suspected Islamists, with executions of 11 and 20 people reported in the central town of Sevare, reports Deutsche Welle. With many of the rebels being ethnic Tuaregs and Arabs but the Mali army largely black, observers worry the fighting could grow into an ethnic conflict. "We are very worried by reports evoking the possibility of ethnic attacks and fighting and abuses committed in revenge attacks," said an EU humanitarian aid official, according to the AFP.

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Showing 3 of 14 comments
bewilderbeast
Jan 25, 2013 6:29 AM CST
"It'll ALL BE OVER in a matter of a few weeks" Francois Dubya Hollande
Bartmaeus
Jan 25, 2013 2:46 AM CST
All the doing of Corporate/Banker puppets Obama-Sarkozy-Cameron, who dismembered Libya with the aid of al Qaida in the Maghreb, who now are armed to the teeth with Gadhaffi's arsenal. Hurrah for the Humanitarian intervention in Libya, TO SAVE LIVES! How mony were killed in Libya alone from air strikes? 30--50,000. Huypocrite fools who suport these liar-slave politicians.
reallybig
Jan 24, 2013 7:31 PM CST
TRUTH BE TOLD .... The size of Mali is about twice the size of France, and to think 2500 French troops and about 4000 African troops can bring peace to Mali is unbelievable, and ridiculous.--- The further the French and allies move into the interior, the further the lines of supply and the harder the task of protecting them become. --- The enemy always avoids direct confrontation with a much superior force, but will attack the supply lines, and rear. IT was easy for France to start this war with the Mali rebels, but we'll see how easy it is for them to end it. THE TRUTH .... The European governments plan of putting their people in as the leaders of Libya, and taking the Libyan Oil and gas is in jeopardy, with the Al-Qaeda Islamics controlling Mali. --- Europe didn't assassinate Qaddafi and his sons, and install their people to run Libya, and now have a bunch of Mali Al-Qaeda Islamics stop them. --- France and NATO has to stop the Mali Al-Qaeda Islamics in Mali, before they interrupt the European theft of the Libyan oil and gas. --- NATO is assassinating every opposition opponent to the NATO plan for taking the Libyan oil and gas, from the 6.5 million Libyans. PS; Was Ambassador Stevens assassinated because he was investigating this, and NATO didn't want him reporting it to the world? REALLY?