Heavy weapons fire rocks town in Mali's north

February 4, 2012 03:20

KIDAL - Heavy weapons fire rang out in and around the northern Malian town of Kidal overnight, residents said on Saturday, in a sign that a Tuareg-led rebellion was nearing the most significant target yet in two weeks of clashes.

A spokesman for the MNLA rebels, who say they are fighting for independence in Mali's north, said they had launched an attack to seize the town but Malian officials said the weapons fire was coming from local army units only.

The rebels, a combination of veteran Tuareg insurgents and returnees from Libya's conflict, have launched attacks on three fronts in Mali's largely desert north but Kidal is the most significant town yet to be threatened.

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