Mali's local militia joins ranks with Al Qaeda-linked group
Bamako, July 16 (ANI): Al Qaeda-linked radical Islamists in Mali have enlisted new fighters from a tribal militia to strengthen their grip on the northern region, according to a report.
According to a witness, who is a resident of Douentza town, some 400 combatants of the government-backed Gandakoy militia appear to have broken ranks and joined the Islamists, bolstering the radicals' edge over ethnic Tuareg rebels in the area.
One of the group's Timbuktu-based fighters, Oumar Ould Hamaha, confirmed the resident's observation, saying the Gandakoy militants in Douentza are 100 percent with Islamist group Ansar Dine,' Fox News reports.
Ansar Dine's spokesman, Sanda Abou Mohamed, also confirmed that the Gandakoy 'who respect our principles' arrived in Douentza.
"I can't tell you the exact number of Gandakoy fighters in Douentza," the report quoted him, as saying.
He further said that the fighters are there to control one of the important roads linking the country's south and north.
According to the report, Douentza, some 150 miles south of Timbuktu, is considered to lie on the front line between Mali's army and the separatist Tuareg rebels of the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad. (ANI)
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