Mali rebels vow revenge on ‘French soil’

File photo shows militants fighting against the central government in Mali.

The rebel forces fighting in northern Mali have vowed to avenge France’s military operation against them on the French soil.

Abou Dardar, the leader of one of Mali’s rebel groups called Movement and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), promised on Monday that the rebels would strike “at the heart of France” in response to its attacks on their bases.

When asked about where they would strike, Dardar said, “Everywhere, in Bamako, in Africa and in Europe.”

On Sunday, French fighter jets pounded the rebel bases in the cities of Gao and Kidal in northern Mali.

At least five members of Ansar Dine, another rebel group in Mali, were killed during the French raid in Gao.

According to reports, French warplanes also launched an attack on the rebels’ stockpiles of munitions and fuel in the town of Afhabo, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Kidal. The area is a stronghold of Ansar Dine.

France began its military action in Mali on January 12 for what it said was to halt advances made by the rebels who control northern Mali.

On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Algeria had allowed French warplanes to use its airspace for bombings in the northern parts of Mali.

Fabius also said the United States, the UK, Denmark, and other European nations are also supporting the French-led military intervention in the African country.

Unrest erupted in Mali after President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012.

The coup leaders said they had mounted the coup in response to the government’s failure to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country.

MKA/HSN