Mali Rebels Declare Independent State

Tuareg rebels who recently captured northern Mali in an astounding military coup, declared their own independent state on Friday.

The state, which the rebels call Azawad, has for decades been the quest of Tuareg rebels, known as the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, or the MNLA fighters.

However the declaration of independence was immediately dismissed by France, the former colonial power in the region. It was also rejected by the European Union and the African Union, which typically refuses to recognize power seized by force or rebellion.

Meanwhile another rebel group the Ansar Dine rebels, believed to have ties with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has rejected the MNLA’s independence declaration, according to news agency reports. The Ansar Dine rebels have swept into the Northern part of Mali and it has told residents it plans to impose Islamic law.

There are other tensions between the MNLA and Ansar Dine, with many Tuaregs concerned that Western fears about Ansar Dine’s links to a terror group could spoil a bid for an independent homeland.

Such news makes wishing for a united Africa a rather difficult notion. However, despite all the conflicts that still exist in Africa, we currently have the least number of conflicts on the continent in comparison to the past years, so there is hope…