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Tuareg Rebels Attack More Towns in Northern Mali

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Malian troops clashed with nomadic Tuareg rebels during their attempt to seize control of towns in the north of the country.

The fighting erupted Wednesday around the northern towns of Aguelhok and Tessalit. Witnesses say the rebels arrived in Aguelhok around 5 a.m. local time and targeted the nearby military barracks. No casualties have been reported and it is unclear if the clashes are ongoing.

The assault comes a day after the rebels tried to seize the town of Menaka, prompting military forces to use aircraft to bomb rebel positions.

Hundreds of ethnic Tuaregs recently returned to northern Mali from Libya, where they fought alongside troops loyal to ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The government has been holding talks in recent months in an effort to defuse rising tensions in the north. Tuareg rebels say the southern-based government has ignored Mali's impoverished northern desert region.

Tuareg nomads are present throughout the Sahel region of Africa. Both Mali and Niger have battled Tuareg uprisings in the last decade.

Article by VOA News