Tuareg rebellion – 15 000 flee Mali
Bamako – Aid officials say more than 15 000 people have fled into neighbouring countries since members of the nomadic Tuareg ethnic group launched a new rebellion against the Malian government last month.
The International Committee of the Red Cross says 10 000 people have crossed into Niger after fighting in towns just across the border. Other aid officials say more than 5 000 others have fled to Mauritania.
The Tuaregs, a traditionally nomadic people spread across the Sahara Desert, have risen up against the central government in Mali several times since the country’s independence from France in 1960.
The newest rebellion launched in January broke years of relative peace, and is being fuelled by the return of Tuaregs from Libya who had fought in Muammar Gaddafi’s army.