Just over a week after conquering the country in a surprise coup, Mali’s new military junta is pleading for international military intervention to help crush the Tuareg secessionist movement in the far north.
“Our army needs the help of Mali’s friends to save the civilian population and Mali’s territorial integrity,” new ruler Captain Amadou Sanogo insisted after news that the Tuaregs have taken the town of Kidal.
The Tuaregs are fighting as part of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA), a group hoping to carve an independent Tuareg state out of Northern Mali. The group was bolstered hugely earlier this year when Tuareg mercenaries returned from fighting in the Libyan Civil War, bringing advanced weapons and quickly securing several key towns.
The NMLA’s quick victories and the Mali civilian government’s inability to keep the military on their side were a big part of the coup. It is unclear, however, how many “friends” Mali’s junta has left to call upon.
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