Tuareg rebels say they’re now in charge of Kidal

The Associated Press reports: As French and Malian soldiers held control of the fabled desert city of Timbuktu following the retreat of Islamist extremists, Tuareg fighters claimed Tuesday that they seized the strategic city of Kidal and other northern towns.

The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad — the Tuareg group’s name for northern Mali — appears to have taken advantage of a French-led bombing and ground campaign to dislodge al- Qaida-linked Islamist fighters from the towns in northern Mali.

Phone lines were down in Kidal, making it difficult to independently confirm the group’s claim.

The Tuareg movement said on its website that it was ready to work with French troops and fight terror organizations.

However, it said it would refuse to allow Malian soldiers in Kidal, and the other towns under its control in northeastern Mali, following allegations that the troops killed civilians suspected of having links to the Islamists.

Reuters adds: The International Monetary Fund has approved an $18.4m loan to strife-torn Mali to help the West African nation stabilise its economy over the next 12 months, the IMF said.

It said on Monday that approval of the loan, under its Rapid Credit Facility, should send a signal that Mali’s economy is on the right path, prompting other donors to offer financial assistance to Mali.

“Mali’s economy is traversing a particularly difficult period as a result of the 2011 drought, insurgent attacks in the north of the country and political instability in the wake of the military coup in March 2012,” the IMF said in a statement.

Note that this is just a loan and it’s for an amount that in this case is deemed sufficient to prop up a West African economy, but in the hands of the 1% would buy a townhouse in Greenwich Village.

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