30 dead in clash with al-Qaida-linked rebels

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BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A Malian intelligence official confirmed that 30 people were killed near the Mali-Niger border after a clash pitting armed villagers against members of an al-Qaida-linked rebel group.

The official, who could not be named because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the fighting erupted overnight between Monday and Tuesday. He said 17 civilians were killed along with 13 members of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, or MUJAO, which ruled part of northern Mali for much of 2012.

The villagers were from a Tuareg ethnic group loyal to the Malian government, while the MUJAO fighters were mostly from the Peul ethnicity. The killings come on the heels of a clash also pitting these two groups last week, which left 31 Tuaregs dead.

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