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West Africa: Mali claims victory in desert fight

Mali's military claim victory over Tuareg militants of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad.
West africa tuareg rebels mali 2012 1 20Enlarge
Unidentified representatives of Tuareg who returned to Mali after fighting in the Libyan army meet Mali's President at the presidential palace in Bamako on Dec. 3, 2011. (Habib Kouyate/AFP/Getty Images)

NAIROBI, Kenya — As the dust settles on what looked awfully like just the opening salvo in a new rebellion Mali's military has claimed victory and the killing of 45 Tuareg fighters.

In response a rebel spokesman said that his forces had killed "30-40" government soldiers.

More on GlobalPost: Libya News: Tuaregs resurgent after Gaddafi

Claims can't be verified and need to be taken with healthy dose of salt as the fighting happened in a very remote part of the country and at one point both the rebels and the army assured reporters that they were each in control of one town.

The Tuareg rebels, calling themselves the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, formed last year.

More on GlobalPost: Tuaregs: 5 Things You Need to Know

They are believed to have attracted battle-hardened recruits and weaponry from Libya where thousands of Tuaregs fought alongside Colonel Gaddafi.

Clearly the ripple effects of the Libyan strongman's demise are going to be felt for some time.