A fighter with the Tuareg separatist group MNLA stands guard outside the local regional assembly in Kidal, Mali, June 23, 2013. REUTERS/Adama Diarra
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Mali's prime minister said his country was at war with Tuareg separatists after the rebels attacked a northern town he was visiting, killing soldiers and abducting around 30 civil servants.Some shooting had already broken out before Prime Minister Moussa Mara arrival in Kidal early on Saturday and he was forced to take shelter in an army base as rebel fighters attacked and seized the regional governor's office. A Malian military source said Saturday's gun battle erupted after MNLA fighters aboard two pick-up trucks attacked an army checkpoint in front of the governor's office.A MNLA official claimed at least eight Malian soldiers had been killed in Saturday's violence.They're all safe and sound and doing well," Attaye Ag Mohamed told Reuters by telephone from the town.He said Mali's United Nations peacekeeping mission had called for a ceasefire and there had been no fighting on Sunday.
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