This is a thread to discuss developments in the conflict in Northern Mali. Here's a summary of what's been going on.
In early 2012 there was a rebellion in Northern Mali started by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). In March 2012, the Malian military, dissatisfied with the anti-rebel efforts, staged a coup d'etat and suspended Mali's constitution. Within weeks of the coup the rebels had taken over northern Mali and declared independence*. The declaration of independence is not being taken seriously by the African Union. Now Mali is being assisted by France and other west-African nations in their military efforts.
*This coup is frankly the biggest case of a plan backfiring ever.
Here's a map of the current situation: