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The Tuareg Rebellion of 2012 was an early stage of the 2012 northern Mali conflict; from January to April 2012, a war was waged against the Malian government by rebels with the goal of attaining independence for the northern region of Mali, known as Azawad. It was led by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad and was part of a series of insurgencies by traditionally nomadic Tuaregs which date back at least to 1916. The MNLA was formed by former insurgents and a significant number of heavily armed Tuaregs who fought in the Libyan civil war. On 22 March, President Amadou Toumani Touré was ousted in a coup d'état over his handling of the crisis, a month before a presidential election was to have taken place. Mutineering soldiers, under the banner of the National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State, suspended the constitution of Mali, although this move was reversed on 1 April. The Islamist group Ansar Dine, too, began fighting the government in later stages of the conflict, claiming control of vast swathes of territory, albeit disputed by the MNLA. As a consequence of the instability following the coup, Northern Mali's three largest cities—Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu—were overrun by the rebels on three consecutive days. On 5 April, after the capture of Douentza, the MNLA said that it had accomplished its goals and called off its offensive. The following day, it proclaimed Azawad's independence from Mali. (via Freebase)