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AFP, FRANCE 24 (France), REUTERS

Worldcrunch

BAMAKO- Two weeks after the start of the French military intervention in Mali, the Ansar Dine Islamist militant group has split into two, with the dissident faction calling for peace negotiations.

The dissident group is calling itself the Islamic Movement of Azawad (MIA) according to France 24.

In a statement, the MIA said they "rejected all forms of extremism and terrorism and was committed to fighting them," adding that it wanted a "peaceful solution" to the Mali crisis, reports the AFP.

The statement said the newly formed group was composed entirely of Malian nationals and called on Mali and France to cease hostilities in the zones it was occupying in the northeastern regions of Kidal and Menaka "to create a climate of peace which will pave the way for an inclusive political dialogue".

It is not clear how many fighters have left the Ansar Dine rebels to join MIA, however, France 24 reports that Alghabass Ag Intallah, a senior member of the Ansar Dine who helped seize Mali last year from government forces, is the leader of the new group.

According to the AFP, French planes destroyed two Islamist bases in northern Mali overnight, as well as their fuel stock and armory. More than 2,000 soldiers from Chad and 500 troops from Niger are being deployed in Niger near the Mali border, to open a second front against the Islamists as part of a 6-000 strong African force to boost – and eventually take over – the French intervention.

Most of the African troops for the UN-mandated intervention come from member countries of the West African regional grouping ECOWAS, such as Benin, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo and Niger, according to Reuters. There are also troops from neighboring Burkina Faso as well as Burundi and Chad.

News of the French and African advances has been overshadowed by allegations that Malian government soldiers have executed Tuaregs and Arabs accused of collaborating with the rebels, reports Reuters. International observers are worried that this could trigger an ethnic bloodbath.

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Map Vardion via Wikipedia

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Map Acntx via Wikipedia

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Society

Jehovah's Witnesses Translate The Bible In Indigenous Language — Is This Colonialism?

The Jehovah's Witnesses in Chile have launched a Bible version translated into the native Mapudungun language, evidently indifferent to the concerns of a nation striving to save its identity from the Western cultural juggernaut.

A Mapuche family awaits for Chilean President Gabriel Boric to arrive at the traditional Te Deum in the Cathedral of Santiago, on Chile's Independence Day.

Claudia Andrade

NEUQUÉN — The Bible can now be read in Mapuzugun, the language of the Mapuche, an ancestral nation living across Chile and Argentina. It took the Chilean branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a latter-day Protestant church often associated with door-to-door proselytizing and cold calling, three years to translate it into "21st-century Mapuzugun".

The church's Mapuche members in Chile welcomed the book when it was launched in Santiago last June, but some of their brethren see it rather as a cultural imposition. The Mapuche were historically a fighting nation, and fiercely resisted both the Spanish conquerors and subsequent waves of European settlers. They are still fighting for land rights in Chile.

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