Tuareg rebels in Mali free 30 hostages

By Kyle Johnson,

Taureg rebels in northern Mali freed 30 hostages they abducted from the town of Kidal over the weekend on Monday.

The hostages, who are all civil servants, were initially grabbed on Saturday at an office building, reports Voice of America. Six people were killed in the attack.

Prime Minister Moussa Mara responded by sending troops to the northern town, where they have been fighting National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) separatists. About 36 people have been killed since fighting began.

A MNLA spokesperson told BBC News, the return of the 30 hostages was meant to be a humanitarian gesture. The separatists have also denied losing any rebels in the clashes between the two sides in Kidal, where they continue to hold on to the governor's office.

The country has struggled since the re-institution of civilian rule last year after the military took over due to a Tuareg rebellion just the year before. Still, there are occasional skirmishes between rebels and Islamist forces.

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