By Victor Trammell
A car bomb exploded Tuesday in Kidal, a town located in northern Mali. Seven pro-France fighters were killed in the suicide attack at a local checkpoint.
French troops removed Islamic militants from the city of Kidal and many other strongholds across Mali. However, the militants have been able to carry out suicide attacks and small-scale raids against civilians and soldiers who support French military intervention in the country.
The guerrilla warfare waged by Islamic extremists in Mali is very similar to what the Taliban fighters did in Afghanistan following the American-led dismantling of their government there.
The suicide attack on Tuesday targeted a checkpoint that was manned by a group of Tuareg fighters belonging to the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). The Tuareg are an ethnic group of Berber people who live a nomadic pastoralist lifestyle. The Tuareg people live in many northern and western African countries.
The MNLA was formerly an ally of the Islamic militants who started a movement to install a central government in Mali built on Sharia Law. However, MNLA fighters fell out of favor with the Islamic militants around April 2012, which is when the Islamic fighters seized complete control of northern Mali. The MNLA later joined the French effort to crush the Islamic uprising in Mali.
Last week, two people were killed by car bomb attacks in Kidal. Thirteen Chadian soldiers were also killed in attacks last week by Islamic militants. The neighboring African nation of Chad has sent soldiers and support to promote the peace keeping effort in Mali.