March 22, 2012 / 1:53 PM / 5 years ago

Northern Mali rebels say preparing new advance

BAMAKO, March 22 (Reuters) - Nomad-led rebels in the north of Mali said on Thursday they would exploit confusion caused by a coup attempt in the capital Bamako to make new advances in their campaign to carve out a northern homeland.

"The situation (in Bamako) will allow us to take advantage of the chaos to gain more ground," Moussa Ag Acharatoumane, a Paris-based spokesman for the MNLA rebellion said by telephone.

Asked when they would seek to advance on key northern towns such as Kidal, Timbuktu and Gao, he said: "I don't think it will be long. We are preparing this." (Reporting by David Lewis; Writing by Mark John; Editing by Ben Harding)

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