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Report: Malian soldiers, Tuareg rebels dead after clashes in Kidal

From Karen Smith, CNN
May 19, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Government forces clash with Tuareg rebels, state-run paper reports
  • The clashes end with 8 Malian soldiers' deaths; 28 Tuareg rebels died, paper says
  • Government says buildings attacked by Azawad National Liberation Movement

(CNN) -- Clashes near the northern Malian town of Kidal between government forces and Tuareg rebel armed groups have left eight Malian soldiers dead and 25 others injured, according to the country's Defense Ministry, the state-run newspaper, L'Essor National, reported Sunday.

There were also 28 dead and 62 wounded on the Tuareg side, the ministry said, according to L'Essor National.

The government issued a statement Saturday saying Tuareg rebels from the Azawad National Liberation Movement, joined by jihadists, attacked government buildings.

The Azawad National Liberation Movement -- known as the MNLA, the initials for its name in French -- is fighting for independence for the northern part of Mali, a region that it refers to as Azawad.

The MNLA issued a statement about the violence, describing it as self-defense and resistance.

The group claimed it took 30 prisoners, including 24 soldiers and three regional government officials. Two wounded Malian soldiers were handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the MNLA added.

The United Nations Mission in Mali condemned the clashes and said they violated the preliminary accords designed to bring peace and security in the northern regions, including in Kidal.

French soldier killed in fight against militants in Mali

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