Pro-autonomy Tuareg rebels in Mali said on Tuesday they had occupied the town of Menaka, extending their control of the remote northeast as they position for talks with the government after the retreat of al Qaeda-linked insurgents.
It was not possible to independently verify whether MNLA fighters had entered Menaka, some 250 km (156 miles) south of their stronghold of Kidal. Menaka was a cradle of the MNLA's separatist uprising last year that took over northern Mali but was subsequently hijacked by al Qaeda and its allies.
Malian military officials have accused the MNLA of seeking to exaggerate its presence in the north to strengthen its hand in possible talks with Bamako after a three-week French-led offensive drove the Islamist fighters into the far northeast.
Source: Reuters. Read full article. (link)