National Wednesday 7 March 2012 - 11:19
Tuareg rebels say US, France supplied weapons to Mali troops via Malta Tuareg rebels have accused France and the United States of using Malta to provide “urgent military aid” to Mali in a bid to save it from disintegration and falling into Al Qaeda hands at height of Libyan révolution.
Tuareg pictured on the oustkirts of Bamako in Mali. Karl Stagno-Navarra
Abdullah Banoussa, a senior leader in the Ansar Al-Din [Supporters of Religion] armed movement disclosed in a telephone conversation with Algerian newspaper El-Khabar that Mali received weapons and combat vehicles from the US and France through Malta, Spain and Libya.
The paper said that the vehicles had been transported by sea on French ships to be delivered to Niger as part of a military deal, but were transferred to Mali after the outbreak of the war.
Banoussa told El-Khabar : "we have definite information about the transfer of US military cargo planes taking off from Libya, Malta and Spain to transport military equipment to the government of Bamako."
US and French air force C-130 military planes had taken off from bases in Chad, Libya and Malta to transport military supplies and armoured vehicles (SUV) to military bases near Gao and Bamako in Mali, they said.
Leading figures of Azawad Liberation Movement accuse the United States and France of providing military support directly to the government of Bamako under the guise of combating terrorism. Information allegedly available to El-Khabar newspaper reportedly indicates that the government of Mali requested urgent military assistance after the loss of dozens of military vehicles and quantities of weapons during the battles of the past weeks.
The Government of Mali allegedly informed Western countries that it would not be responsible for large territories that would come under the control of Al Qaeda in the Maghreb.
Meanwhile, Al-Bekey Ag Ahmed Hamid, the official spokesman of the Azawad Liberation Movement, said that the Amchiche military base had fallen in the hands of Azawad rebels. T
he spokesman confirmed that the Malian army first tried Saturday to take back the base in a battle that lasted seven hours, following which the rebels managed to seize seven vehicles and two trucks.
Captain Raymond Did Swan from the military garrison of the Malian army in Tessalit, denied the fall of the strategic base of Amchiche to the hands of the rebels in a statement to Nigerian newspaper 'Newnova'.
The head of the political bureau of the Azawad National Movement, Mahmoud Ag Aghali said: "Amchiche camp has been besieged for over a month, and, if it was not for a neighbouring country that provides the elements of the army holed up inside with food and weapons, they would have surrendered. He regrets the intervention of some foreign powers in the region to protect the "occupation" and aid by foreign powers