BAMAKO - Mali Islamic militant group MUJWA said on Sunday the killing of 16 Muslim preachers including eight Mauritanians and eight Malians by an army patrol in Mali was a declaration of war.

The Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) is one of the Islamic groups that has hijacked a Tuareg rebellion in northern Mali since April with the intention of imposing sharia law in the country.

"With this barbaric act that was not warranted, I don't see any future for Malian army or the Malian government because we are going to continue our southward push to Bamako. This was a declaration of war," said Oumar Ould Hamaha, a senior Islamist speaking on behalf MUJWA.

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