Armed in Libya, Tuareg Rebels Flood Into Northern Mali

Insurgents Equipped Like a Military

The first major fallout from the NATO-backed Libya revolution outside of the Libyan borders seems to be in northern Mali, where the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA) is scoring major victories against the Malian military.

The Tuareg tribes in the area have rebelled many times, but have usually been crushed by the more heavily armed military. With many Tuareg mercenaries back from Libya and bringing their heavy weaponry with them, the fights are a different story now.

The rebels are equipped “just like Libya’s army,” noted one defense ministry official, saying that four-wheelers with mounted machine guns and anti-tank missiles are pouring into the rebels’ arsenal.

The NMLA hopes to achieve secession in the far north of Mali, and the sudden influx of modern weapons could well make them more than the rag-tag Mali military, conscripts armed with aging Soviet weaponry, is able to handle.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of