Clashes between Tuareg rebels and pro-government militias continue in northern Mali as the U.N. investigates reports of human rights abuses. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Northern Mali separatist Tuareg-led rebels clashed with pro-government militias near the flashpoint town of Menaka on Friday, the scene of repeated violations of a ceasefire agreement. The fighting pitted GATIA militia against mainly Tuareg fighters of the separatist Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA). The United Nations said on Friday that it was also investigating reports of serious human rights abuses, including the execution of civilians, in northern Mali following repeated clashes in the area. U.N-brokered peace efforts in Mali's north are in danger of unraveling because of repeated violations of a ceasefire between the CMA and the pro-government factions. Most rebel groups boycotted the signing of a peace agreement last week and have given it only initial approval. Violence has continued in northern Mali despite a 2013 French-led intervention that pushed back al Qaeda-linked fighters who hijacked the Tuareg-led rebellion and seized two-thirds of the country in 2012. A ceasefire deal was signed between the government, its allies and northern separatist groups last year, but violations of the agreement have increased since pro-government fighters seized Menaka late last month.