The ex-rebels from the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) in northern Mali said Monday they were in a “time of war” with the ruling junta, in a statement received by AFP.
The CMA, an alliance of Tuareg-dominated groups seeking autonomy or independence from the Malian state, called on all residents of the northern Azawad region to “go to the field to contribute to the war effort” in a statement also distributed on social media.
In the statement, the CMA said its purpose was “defending and protecting the homeland and thus regaining control of the entire territory”.
It was the first document signed by a group calling itself the “Azawadian National Army”.
A 2015 peace deal — the so-called Algiers agreement between the government and the CMA — has been hanging by a thread.
In late August Mali’s junta had called on the armed groups in the north to renew dialogue and an ailing peace deal, amid fears of fresh hostilities after the UN peacekeeping force withdraws.
The UN peacekeeping mission, known as Minusma, has until December 31 to exit Mali after a decade of struggling to stabilise the country’s security environment amid separatist and jihadist rebellions.