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U.N. Threatens Sanctions over Upsurge in Mali Fighting

The U.N. Security Council on Friday demanded an immediate halt to an upsurge in fighting in Mali and threatened to impose sanctions against those responsible for the violence.

The 15-member council said renewed fighting this week "threatens to undermine the peace process" and "demanded that the hostilities cease immediately."

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1 Dead, 6 Taken Hostage in North Mali Attack

Dozens of gunmen stormed a northern Mali town, killing one and taking six other people hostage in an attack blamed on Tuareg rebels, officials told AFP Friday.

"More than 50 armed men from the Coordination for the Movements of Azawad (CMA) came Thursday to sow terror in Bintagoungou. They killed a man and took six hostages with them," said Hama Aboubacrine, mayor of the town about 90 kilometers to the west of Timbuktu.

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Clashes between Mali Army, Rebels Leave 19 Dead

Ten militants and nine soldiers died in clashes between the Malian army and the main Tuareg rebel alliance, the government said Thursday, raising fears for the country's fragile peace process.

The Tuareg-led Coordination for the Movements of Azawad (CMA) provoked the deadliest battle in almost a year between security forces and the rebellion as its fighters ambushed the central town of Lere on Wednesday.

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Clashes between Mali Army, Rebels Leave 19 Dead

Ten militants and nine soldiers have died in clashes between the Malian army and a Tuareg rebel alliance, the defense ministry said on Thursday, raising fears for the country's fragile peace process.

The announcement came a day after fighters from the Tuareg-led Coordination for the Movements of Azawad (CMA) ambushed military positions in the central town of Lere, near the Mauritanian border.

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Mali Militants Kill Two Soldiers, Child

Militants opened fire on troops at a national guard camp in northern Mali on Wednesday, killing two soldiers and a child, security sources told AFP.

The gunmen struck at 5:00 am in the town of Goundam, 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the ancient city of Timbuktu, a Malian security source said.

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U.N. Says Assault by Pro-Govt. Militia a Threat to Peace in Mali

The head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali said Tuesday an attack by loyalist fighters on rebel positions in the north threatened "months of intense negotiations" for peace.

The U.N.'s MINUSMA force head Mongi Hamdi condemned the pro-government Imghad and Allies Tuareg Self-Defense Group (GATIA) which seized key positions in the desert town of Menaka from rebels on Monday.

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Ten People Drown as Canoe Capsizes in Mali

Ten people drowned on Sunday after their canoe capsized in Mali, a police source told Agence France Presse, the first major river accident in the impoverished west African nation in 18 months.

"Ten people drowned Sunday in the town of Tienfala, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) from Bamako, when their boat capsized," the source said.

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U.N. Chief Concerned about Attacks on Peacekeepers in Mali

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday recent attacks on the U.N. mission in Mali highlighted the urgent need for a political settlement with rebels in the country's north.

Seven U.N. peacekeepers were wounded Thursday in the most recent attack about 60 miles (100 kilometers) southwest of the northern city of Kidal.

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Mali Rebels Confirm Refusal to Sign Peace Deal

Mali's Tuareg-led rebellion reaffirmed in a statement Wednesday its refusal to sign a peace deal agreed by other armed groups and the government and due to be rubber stamped on May 15.

The U.N. Security Council has urged the main Tuareg rebel alliance, known as the Coordination for the Movements of Azawad (CMA), to initial the deal along with the other parties or face sanctions.

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Boat Skipper Facing Mass Murder Charge over Migrant Disaster

The captain of a migrant boat that capsized in the Mediterranean's deadliest disaster in decades was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of causing the deaths of an estimated 800 people.

Prosecutors in the Sicilian city of Catania said they believed Tunisian national Mohammed Ali Malek, 27, was responsible for steering mistakes and the reckless overcrowding which led to the horrifying shipwreck off Libya on Sunday.

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