Mali's Mujao Islamists And Rebels In Battle For Control

Militant Islamists and Tuareg-led rebels have clashed in northern Mali.
The rebels said they launched an offensive against the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao) group, but they were later repelled, AFP news agency reported.

Meanwhile, rebels and another Islamist group, Ansar Dine, held talks in neighbouring Burkina Faso.

The Islamists said they were ready to work with the Malian government to end months of instability in the north.

The UN Security Council is due to discuss plans in the next few weeks to deploy a regional force to northern Mali.

The regional body, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), says it will send about 3,300 troops to Mali, if the UN gives the green light.

The Islamists and rebels - a secular group made up of ethnic Tuaregs known as the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) - captured northern Mali earlier this year following a joint offensive against government forces.

However, their alliance has since collapsed, with the Islamists taking territory from the MNLA.
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