BAMAKO - Malian rebels have planted their flag in the northern town of Timbuktu after government forces fled the ancient trading post, a local lawmaker and a resident told Reuters.
"They have arrived in the town. They are planting their flag," El Hadj Baba Haidara, member of parliament for Timbuktu, told Reuters by telephone. A resident said the MNLA rebels had planted their flag at the governor's office, the mayor's office and the main military camp.Both sources said the town was mainly quiet, except for sporadic gunfire. It was not immediately clear if the rebels were in full control as an Arab-led militia remained in town after government forces fled.