(AP) Tuareg fighters in northern Mali say they have seized control of the strategic city of Kidal and seven other northern towns from Islamist extremists.
The website of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad the Tuaregs' name for northern Mali made the claim Tuesday.
It was not possible to independently verify the Tuareg movement's claim. The Tuaregs' statement comes as French and Malian forces say they control the fabled desert city of Timbuktu.
The Tuareg group said it is fully subscribed to the fight against terrorist organizations and will work with French troops.
But it categorically refuses to allow the return to the north of the Malian army, which it accuses of summary executions of civilians.