“We got a call from our local partners, the city of Kidal fell into the hands of the rebels and the situation is very confusing” said Mamatal Ag Dahmane, a spokesman for the refugees and victims of repression in the Azawad (Arvra) confirming news of the northern city by the rebel National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA) and the group Ansar al-Din.
“We are very concerned about the plight of civilians stranded in Kidal” says Dahmane from France, where he lives and collect first hand information about what is happening. “Those who have fled, but most of the people were and are now in a very volatile situation,” Ag Dahmane adds that “the army is broken, and since there was a coup disorganization and uncertainty reign.”
Media sources confirm that the fighting between local rebels and the army, in the course last night and again this morning, took place mostly outside the city, but the rebels, more organized and better armed prevailed over the army. Kidal is a city of about 10,000 inhabitants in addition to several regular semi-nomadic communities that mount their camps in the suburbs. Since the conflict there has been a growing number of displaced persons from other parts of the region.
The taking of Kidal – the first major strategic defeat on the ground for the military junta that took power in a coup in Bamako on 22 March – opens the way to the rebel city of Gao, the main center of the north, and Timbuktu . The latter is already in a state of maximum alert after the Mnla camped on its doorstep has announced that it will move to its conquest.