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Deadly ethnic clashes grip Algeria, Mali

21 August 2013, 07:52

Algiers - Deadly clashes between Arabs and Tuareg raged on into a second week in an Algerian border town on Tuesday, with another eight people killed, Algerian media reported.

The bloodshed in Bordj Badji Mokhtar stoked fears of a spillover of violence from neighbouring Mali, where a long standing Tuareg rebellion was overtaken by jihadists, prompting French-led international intervention earlier this year.

The French-language El Watan newspaper said that rival Arab and Tuareg militia had been involved in the fighting rocking the small garrison town in Algeria's far-flung desert south.

Hospital sources said two people were killed on Monday when a man drove a 4X4 vehicle into a crowd, the paper reported.

Another six people were killed in the town on Sunday. In all, 23 people have died in the week-long violence between members of the Arab Brabiche and Tuareg Idnan tribes.

The government in Algiers, some 2 200km away on the Mediterranean coast, dispatched 1 500 special forces troops to try to restore order.

Representatives of the rival sides had reached agreement on a truce late on Friday but it failed to take effect on the ground.

The fighting caused severe damage to businesses that serve a vast region of surrounding desert and the town is now "completely isolated," the paper said.

The desert south of Algeria has a significant Tuareg community which straddles the border with neighbouring Mali and Niger.

Al-Qaeda-inspired unrest across the Sahel has stoked tensions between Arabs and Tuareg.



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