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Many killed in Niger clashes

At least 17 people have been killed in clashes between Niger’s army and Tuareg fighters who have been waging a sporadic insurgency for more than a year, according to statements issued by both sides.

The Niger government said only Tuareg fighters were killed and no government soldiers died in the fighting on Friday.

Both the government and the fighters confirmed battles around the town of Tezirzait, a town in the northern uranium-producing Agadez region.
Both the Tuaregs and the Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ) demand greater autonomy for the West African region and a bigger share of its mineral wealth for local people.

Encouraged by rising world prices for uranium, the radioactive fuel for nuclear reactors, Niger hopes to become the world’s 2nd largest uranium producer by 2011.

Al Jazeera

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