In a dramatic turn of events, the town of Kidal in northern Mali, which has long been under separatist control, has fallen into the hands of the Malian armed forces.
The operation, marked by a raid and substantial casualties, has dealt a blow to Tuareg-dominated rebel groups challenging the sovereignty of the junta-led government.
Malian army officials have confirmed the successful takeover, asserting that the mission is not yet complete.
Interim President Assimi Goita expressed the significance of the event, stating, “Today, our armed and security forces have taken over Kidal. Our mission is not complete.”
This decisive move comes amid a prolonged absence of state and military presence in Kidal, where separatist groups, mainly the Tuaregs, have held sway for years.
The recent shift in control follows the rebels’ takeover of a base vacated by the UN peacekeeping force just last month. In response, the Mali army initiated a northward movement to reclaim the territory.
The strategic success in recapturing Kidal stands as a symbolic victory for the junta, which seized power in a coup in 2020.
As the nation grapples with internal challenges and regional dynamics, the recapture of Kidal signifies a critical step towards restoring government authority in the troubled northern regions.
The ongoing efforts of the Malian armed forces will be closely monitored as they strive to complete their mission in regaining control over territories long held by separatist forces.