A loyalist self-defense militia group called Gatia and its allies, on Monday took control of Menaka town in northern Mali from the hands of the rebel National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), local sources told Xinhua.
Speaking to Xinhua on phone, Gatia’s deputy secretary general Habala Ag Hamzata confirmed that “his group had taken control of Menaka town after clashes with MNLA.”
He said the capture of the town was undertaken by loyalist armed groups that included Gatia, Arab Azawad Movement and the Coordination of Movements and Resistance Patriotic Fronts.
Explaining the circumstances that led to the capture of Menaka, Ag Hamzata said members of his movement who were on a tour to sensitize the public on the Algiers Peace Agreement, were attacked in a locality situated 40 km southwest of Menaka by MNLA fighters.
“The fighting continued up to Menaka town, and we finally took control of it,” he said. Enditem