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Feb 1, 2013 1:30 PM by Lauren Molenburg

Arabs, Tuaregs in Mali face hostility amid war

MOPTI, Mali (AP) - Mali's Arab and Tuareg communities say they're facing new threats amid the French-led mission to oust extremist Islamists from the country's north.

Most members of the Islamic groups that took over northern Mali last year are from Tuareg or Arab backgrounds.

Now that the military operation has forced the extremists to flee into the desert, other Arabs and Tuaregs who had nothing to do with the Islamist movement say they're facing recriminations.

For instance, an Arab woman who lives in central Mali says she's afraid to leave her home for fear of being attacked.

Bawba Mint Baba Ahmed, a 29-year-old in Mopti, says people have threatened to slit her throat because she is light-skinned like the rebels in the north.

Arab-owned shops in Timbuktu and Gao also have been vandalized.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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