Former Malian rebel, linked to Libyan arms, killed

Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:31am GMT
 

(Refiles to fix reference to victim in paragraph 3)

* Former Malian rebel killed in desert north

* Ex-rebel linked to Libyan weapons but cause of death unclear

BAMAKO, Aug 26 (Reuters) - An influential former Malian rebel, believed to have been involved in the trade of looted weapons from Libya, has been killed in the north of the country, officials said on Friday.

It was not immediately clear how Ibrahim Ag Bahanga was killed, with one version of events blaming an accident while several other sources said he had been involved in a row with fellow smugglers ferrying weapons back from Libya.

The death of Bahanga, one of the leaders of the last Tuareg rebellion in northern Mali before he went into exile in Libya, follows widespread fears that Libya's conflict will spill over into the remote regions of Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania.

Malian Foreign Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga confirmed Bahanga's death but, having heard both accounts, said he could not be sure how he had been killed.

However, a military source and a member of Bahanga's Tuareg tribe, both of whom asked not to be named, said he had been killed in an argument.

"It was during a row with one of his own men when someone shot him near the border with Mali and Niger," the military source told Reuters.   Continued...

 
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