A former leader in the Ansar Dine faction issued a statement today on French radio claiming that he is splitting the faction in half and forming a group looking to negotiate a peace deal with France and potentially join the French side in the ongoing invasion.
The leader, Alghabass Ag Intalla said that his group, which would be called the Islamic Movement for the Azawad, was ready to take up arms against the rest of Ansar Dine, though he gave no indication how many allies he might have.
Those familiar with the situation say Intalla, a tribal leader in Kidal, and several other members joined Ansar Dine after it took over from the Tuareg secessionist movement more out of political practicality than ideological support.
With the winds shifting a different way since the French invasion, Intalla seems to be looking for a way to change sides again. Whether France is okay with the idea is unclear, and whether the group has anything meaningful to bring on board is likewise unclear, but it adds another dimension to an already crazy situation in northern Mali.
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