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New Mali PM chooses ministers with focus on reconciliation

Mali's new Prime Minister Moussa Mara formed a government Friday, with the outgoing foreign minister becoming reconciliation minister as the deeply-divided nation recovers from months of ruinous conflict. Former planning minister Mara, 39, was promoted to the premiership last weekend after Mali's first post-war prime minister Oumar Tatam Ly quit just six months into office. The make-up of the new cabinet, announced by presidential decree on public television, places reconciliation at the top of the agenda.

Militants launch failed rocket attack in northern Mali

Militants fired rockets at a school and a French army camp in the northern Malian city of Kidal on Monday, without managing to hit their targets, military sources said. "On Monday at 7:00 am (0700 GMT), Islamists fired four rockets at Kidal. One rocket was headed to the French military camp and the fourth to a school. There are no victims," a Malian military source told AFP. A French army source said that "three rockets were fired at Kidal, (which) did not cause any damage".

Shells fired at UN, French army base in Mali

Militants shelled a camp for French troops and the United Nations MINUSMA peacekeeping force in northeastern Mali, military sources told AFP on Tuesday, but failed to do any damage. "Two shells were fired Monday night by unidentified persons at the Kidal camp for French troops and MINUSMA," said a Malian military source who added that there was "no damage or casualties". The attack was confirmed by a French military source in Mali who said the shells passed safely over the camp, missing their targets.

Tuaregs stop Mali PM visiting town

Tuareg demonstrators on Thursday occupied an airport runway to prevent Mali's Prime Minister Oumar Tatam Ly visiting the rebel-controlled northeastern town of Kidal, officials said. Protesters said Malian soldiers shot and wounded three of the demonstrators, but the Malian army denied that. An African military source said troops with the UN military support mission in Mali, MINUSMA, had tried but failed to stop the demonstrators occupying and blocking the runway.

Tuaregs stop Mali PM visiting town

Tuareg demonstrators Thursday occupied an airport runway to prevent Mali's Prime Minister Oumar Tatam Ly visiting the rebel-controlled northeastern town of Kidal, officials said. Protesters said Malian soldiers shot and wounded three of the demonstrators, but the Malian army denied that. An African military source said troops with the UN military support mission in Mali, MINUSMA, had tried but failed to stop the demonstrators occupying and blocking the runway.

Insight: Revival of Islamists in Mali tests French, U.N. nerve

By David Lewis and Laurent Prieur DAKAR/NOUAKCHOTT (Reuters) - Nine months after they were scattered across the Sahara by waves of French air strikes, Islamists in Mali are making a comeback - naming new leaders, attacking U.N. peacekeepers and killing two French journalists. Their return is making it harder for the west African country's new president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and his foreign backers to stabilize the northern desert despite the incentive of more than $3 billion in international aid for the area.

Malian journalists pay tribute to murdered French colleagues

Hundreds of Malian reporters marched through the capital Bamako on Monday in silent tribute to two French journalists shot dead by suspected terrorists in the country's north. A management team from Radio France Internationale (RFI), where Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon had worked for many years, took part in the march as they made preparations for the repatriation of their colleagues' bodies.

Mali rulers lift arrest warrants against Tuareg chiefs

Mali's government has lifted arrest warrants against four leaders of the west African country's ethnic Tuareg rebellion in the name of "national reconciliation", the justice ministry announced Tuesday. The warrants were issued several months ago against rebel leaders in the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA).

UN urges Tuareg rebels to resume Mali peace talks

The UN's envoy to Mali, Bert Koenders, on Friday urged Tuareg and Arab rebels to return to peace talks with the Bamako government, amid a resurgence of violence in the north of the country. The rebels, who are fighting for autonomy in northern Mali, announced in late September that they were pulling out of talks with the government. The move dealt a blow to hopes of a durable peace in the troubled west African country, which only elected a new president in August after 18 months of political crisis sparked by a military coup in March last year.

Mali fights rebels in north as army officers protest in south

By Tiemoko Diallo and Adama Diarra BAMAKO (Reuters) - Tuareg rebels battled soldiers in northern Mali for a second day and disgruntled army officers staged an unruly protest at a southern military base on Monday, underscoring the dual challenge facing the new government. In the center of the remote northern town of Kidal, MNLA Tuareg separatists traded fire with soldiers early on Monday before an uneasy calm returned. The fighting began on Sunday night, with both sides accusing the other of firing first.
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