BY A STAFF REPORTER: At least 12 civilians were killed on Tuesday in a drone strike around the town of Kidal in northern Mali.
The attack is seen as the first sign of conflict since the United Nations hastily left Kidal, a stronghold of ethnic Tuareg rebels, on Oct. 31.
Security experts have warned that the region could now become the epicentre of the war in the north as rebels and the military seek to seize territories vacated by the United Nations, further destabilizing Maliki, where Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and islamic state also roam.
Local official Ahmudane Ag said 12 to 15 civilians were killed in Tuesday's attack and a drone crashed near a school. A spokesman for the rebel movement's Permanent Strategic Framework for Peace, Security and Development (CSP-PSD) said 20 people were killed.