After exchanging fire with Swedish peacekeepers for two days, rebels retreated from Timbuktu on Wednesday, a Swedish commander said.
The rebels made their way to the north of the city, a move that worried residents. "People are frightened and expect a rebel attack," one person told the BBC. "At nightfall I saw a column of United Nations armored vehicles with soldiers from Burkina Faso drive toward the northern outskirts. I hope they spend the night there. The danger is coming from the north." Fighting took place in other spots across Mali, with a pro-government militia saying it recaptured the eastern town of Menaka, while a coalition of Tuareg rebels known as the Coordination of Movements for Azawad claimed on Twitter they took over the town of Lere.
In 2012, rebels aligned with jihadist groups took over Timbuktu and northern Mali. After France intervened in January 2013, the UN deployed 10,000 peacekeepers that July.
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