BAMAKO/DAKAR (Reuters) - Pro-government armed groups in Mali seized the northern town of Menaka from Tuareg separatists on Monday after fierce fighting, a spokesman for the group and a resident said. The clashes between the armed groups comes after months of relative calm and risks derailing a fragile U.N. peace process that aims to settle the future of Mali's desert north, known by separatists as Azawad. The vast region has been hit by four insurgencies in the last five decades, with rebels fighting for independence or a form of self-rule from the government in the south, which they accuse of neglected their homeland. Militants from the Gatia pro-government group and a faction of a northern Arab militia also favourable to the government camp, the Arab Azawad Movement (MAA), attacked the town on Monday morning, a Gatia spokesman said.
Family and friends gathered Monday for the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose death in custody triggered a fresh wave of protests over US police tactics. Dozens of people arrived at the New Shiloh Baptist church to pay final respects to Gray, who died on April 19 of severe spinal injuries, a week after his arrest in Baltimore.