Tuareg separatists beat back Mali army offensive on northern town

BAMAKO Wed May 21, 2014 12:51pm EDT

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Tuareg separatists have pushed back an attempt by Mali's army to seize control of their stronghold town of Kidal, a diplomat and a spokesman for the Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) said on Wednesday.

"All of Kidal including the Malian Military Camp 1 is in our control," Attaye Ag Mohamed, an MNLA official in Kidal, told Reuters by telephone, adding that several Malian army soldiers had been killed, wounded or captured.

The Malian government was not immediately available to comment. A Bamako-based diplomat also told Reuters that the Malian army offensive had been pushed back.

(Reporting by Bate Felix and David Lewis; Editing by Kevin Liffey)