BAMAKO - Ansar Dine, an Islamist group linked to Al-Qaida-linked, has moved into to a town near Mali's border with Mauritania after separatist Tuareg rebels withdrew without a fight, an Islamist spokesman said on Thursday.
Islamist fighters from several groups have taken over an initial uprising by Tuareg MNLA rebels since an uneasy alliance of armed groups seized control of the north in March after a military coup paralyzed the central government.
Ansar Dine, which seeks to impose Islamic sharia law in Mali and has carried out executions and amputations in areas under its control, said it moved into Lere town on Wednesday afternoon.
"There was no fighting. We asked the MNLA who were there to leave. Most of them joined us. Others who didn't agree left town," spokesman Sanda Ould Boumana said.