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Mali military gains control of Ber in north

May 7, 2013

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Soldiers from Mali and Burkina Faso pushed into the village of Ber, located 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Timbuktu, which had previously been occupied by fighters from a Tuareg rebel group, the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad, or NMLA.

Malian military spokesman Capt. Samba Coulibaly spoke by telephone to The Associated Press from Ber on Tuesday. He said the town is now calm and the armed groups occupying the village appear to have fled.

The village has been a focal point in recent weeks of fighting between two of Mali’s ethnic minorities — Tuaregs and Arabs. Last month, an Arab militia attacked the village, seizing control from the NMLA. The militia accuses the NMLA of looting the stores of Arab merchants.

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