DHAKA: Two rebel groups that seized northern Mali two months ago have clashed following protests in the town of Kidal, witnesses say.
Fighting broke out between Tuareg MNLA rebels and the Ansar Dine Islamist group on the third day of protests in the town, reports BBC.
Last month, the two groups agreed to merge and turn their vast northern territory into an Islamist state.
The groups seized the territory in March following a coup in Mali.
Earlier this week, a Kidal resident told media that 500 people had protested over the imposition of Islamic Sharia law.
It is estimated that more than 300,000 people have fled northern Mali since the rebels took the territory.
Regional bloc Ecowas has said it will send 3,000 troops to Mali to help the country reclaim its northern territory, but no timetable has been set.
Correspondents say Thursday night’s fighting in Kidal is the first serious confrontation between the two rebel groups.
‘The crisis is becoming tribal’, Malian journalist Tiegoum Boubeye Maiga commented.
BDST: 1707 HRS, JUN 9, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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