News24

Malian journo claims assault by Tuaregs

2012-04-12 07:50

Bamako - A Malian journalist working in the country's Islamist- and rebel-held north was beaten up by Tuareg fighters, he told AFP on Wednesday.

Reporter Malick Maiga said he was violently arrested by Tuaregs at his radio station in the city of Gao, where he had just completed a broadcast about the regional situation in the divided country.

He said he was attacked by armed members of the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA).

"They took me by force to their camp. They hit me with weapons and threatened they'd kill me the next time," Maiga said.

"The MNLA rebels told me that I mustn't speak badly of them and to say they are doing good work here in Gao."

A regional official, Bouba Maiga, confirmed the journalist was beaten by rebels and denounced the "kidnap".

But Mohamed Assaley, a regional former mayor, told AFP the journalist was merely arrested. The incident was condemned by Mali's press association.

Mali has been gripped by chaos since a 22 March coup that led to the weakening of the army's northern positions and a subsequent rebel and Islamist capture of huge amounts of territory in the north.