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Battle of Gao

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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18610618

    "Islamist forces in northern Mali have seized the town of Gao after clashes with Tuareg-led rebels. At least 20 people have been killed and the political leader of the Tuareg-led movement has been wounded. Residents say the Islamists linked to al-Qaeda took over buildings occupied by the Tuaregs in the town - including their headquarters. Tension has been growing since the Tuaregs and Islamists jointly took control of northern Mali after a coup.

    A spokesman for the Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) told the BBC's Thomas Fessy that Bilal Ag Cherif was wounded during Tuesday's clashes. His life is not in danger and he has been taken to a neighbouring country for treatment. The fighting in Gao followed a day of protest after a local official was killed on Monday. Residents said heavy weapons were being used.

    A doctor in Gao told the BBC that most of the people who were killed and injured seemed to have been armed, but a number of civilians had also been caught in the fighting. In March, the Islamists and MNLA advanced together through northern Mali after the government was overthrown.

    Our correspondent says that they proved unable to reach an agreement after they took control of the region. After weeks of an unlikely alliance between the Tuareg-led fighters seeking a secular independent north and Islamist rebels who want to impose Islamic Sharia law across northern Mali, this latest violence clearly illustrates the balance of power in the region, he adds. More than 300,000 people have fled northern Mali since the rebels took the territory in the days following the 22 March coup."

    Mali wishes to express its revulsion at the wanton deaths of innocents, the dislocation of refugees and the destruction of National Heritage sites of importance to the Malian people. We will be closely monitoring the situation, and are still campaigning against the rebels. We will not view any false government - be it Ansar Dine or MNLA - as legitimate in any respect, and urge the international community to do likewise.
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    China is concerned by the ongoing violence, and supports the legitimate government of Mali. We do not wish to interfere in internal issues, but will provide support if our interests in the area are threatened.

    Ukraine denounces terrorism in general and offers condolences for those affected in the violence.
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    The MHoC is deeply concerned by these latest moves. We are monitoring the situation closely and hope for a peaceful resolution.
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    Georgia believes this situation is deeply concerning and will continue to monitor this situation. Georgia recognises the Mali government as the single legitimate representative of the Mali people and thus is willing to work with the Mali government and provide assistance if required to bring an end to this violence. Georgia condemns any loss of innocent life.
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    Mauritania has had enough of terrorism on its borders and will seek an immediate action on the matter.
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    Greece wishes to express its feelings of deep regret regarding the situation and looks forward to a peaceful conclusion for all those involved.
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    India continues to call for an active diplomatic framework to be created in order to ensure this conflict does not continue to escalate.

    Iran also hopes diplomacy can end this conflict, but urges the international community to respect the right of the Tuareg separatists to self determination.
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    Australia is deeply troubled by the ongoing violence in Mali and urges all sides to engage in diplomacy to end this.

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