Mali's army said Tuesday it has retaken the northern city of Kidal from rebels, after a raid that left many insurgents dead.
The reported capture, not confirmed by independent observers, would mark a symbolic victory for Mali's army as they have been virtually absent from the city, with ethnic Tuareg rebels controlling much of the northern part of the country.
'Today, our armed and security forces have taken over Kidal. Our mission is not complete,' Mali's junta leader, President Assimi Goita, said on X. "I recall it consists of recovering and securing the integrity of the territory, without any exclusion, in accordance with the resolution of the [U.N.] security council.'
Mali's army said it called for peace in the town of about 25,000 and told its residents to obey soldiers.
Rebel leaders expecting a military offensive cut phone lines in Kidal, and there has been difficulty in contacting the remote town. Insurgents have not commented on the reported takeover.
The Kidal region has long frustrated the Mali government, after the army suffered several defeats there from 2012 to 2014, and has been unable to regain much of a foothold in the region since.
Mali has faced much violence since 2012 when a coup in Bamako allowed insurgents to seized the northern half of the country.
The U.N. brokered a peace deal between the rebels and Mali's government in 2015, though Islamist militants connected al-Qaida and Islamic State went on to kill thousands of civilians.
Mali's military seized power in a 2020 coup, ordering the U.N. peacekeepers to leave the country, leading to fighting between the rebels and military over territories vacated by the U.N.
Some information in this report was taken from Agence France Presse and Reuters