Rebels of the nomadic Tuareg people who have seized control of Mali’s remote north have declared the independence of the region, known as Azawad, citing 50 years of bad governance and UN articles on the rights of native people.
The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad accused Mali’s governments of attempting to wipe out Tuaregs, including by starving them during various droughts.
Rebels led by Malian Tuareg colonels who fought for Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and returned home heavily armed led the rebellion that profited from a March 21 coup in the faraway capital of Bamako.
“Considering the complete liberation of the territory of Azawad, we irrevocably proclaim the independent state of Azawad, counting from today, Friday, April 6, 2012,” said a statement from the NMLA’s military leader and the movement’s secretary general, Billal Ag Acherif.
The statement also cited “the accumulation of more than 50 years of bad governance, of corruption and of military-political-financial collusion.”