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Malian forces root out Islamists in northern town

Saturday, March 02, 2013 - 01:19

Mar. 3 - Malian soldiers have arrested all the men but one in the northern village of Kadi's Dar es Salam neighbourhood in an effort to root out Islamist militants and those supporting their insurgency against the government. Jessica Gray reports.

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Kadi village, just 15 km from the northern Malian city of Gao. Home to a tight knit Islamist community, Kadi's Dar es Salem neighbourhood became a hub for Islamist rebels, who launched a bloody war against the government last year. The community, which practiced a strict version of Sharia, warmly welcomed the al Qaeda-linked militants when they arrived in 2012 and continued to hide the rebels as French and Malian troops pressed further north. But all that's now changed, according to residents who say the rebels disappeared suddenly. On Friday, Malian soldiers descended on the village and arrested all the men save one to find out whether the locals were actively involved in the insurgency. A day later, many residents were fearful that they too will be implicated. (SOUNDBITE) (Sonrhai) FARMER ABDERAHMAN ISMAILA, SAYING: "Yesterday the soldiers came and tied up and took away all the men who could move. Only women and children are left here, and they don't know anything. There's nobody left, only me standing here in front of you and I don't know if they will soon come for me too." Although troops have been successful in rooting out rebels from many northern towns, they are being targeting by a growing number of suicide bombings and guerilla-style raids - prompting greater efforts to capture Islamists still hiding in local villages.

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Malian forces root out Islamists in northern town

Saturday, March 02, 2013 - 01:19

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