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32 civilians detained after training for Mali conflict

BAMAKO: Malian police detained thirty-two civilians who had been in military training to dislodge Islamist rebels in the north of the country, as government officials said security was the state's responsibility.

Officers detained them and broke up their training camp on the outskirts of Bamako was dismantled the overnight Wednesday to Thursday, the interior security ministry said in a statement.

The individuals belonged to the Bouyan Ba Hawi (BBH) militia, which means "Better death than shame" in the Songhoi tongue spoke largely in the north.

A BBH member recently told AFP it had "a couple of hundred" members training to fight the Islamists who seized control of the north of the country earlier this year.

Once one of the region's most stable democracies, Mali's political stability has been wrecked by the rebellion in the north and a military coup in March in which president Amadou Toumani Toure was overthrown.

The ensuing political turmoil allowed Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels to seize control of the vast desert north, where they quickly marginalised their former allies among the Tuareg separatists and enforced strict sharia law.

They now control an area that is larger than than France.

 
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