8 Arab civilians detained by military in Timbuktu, as fears of reprisals in Mali continue

Eight Arab men have been detained by the military in Timbuktu, raising fears of further reprisals against the region's Arab minority, whose members are accused of having supported the al-Qaida-linked fighters who had ruled northern Mali for most of the past year.

Witnesses late Saturday confirmed the Feb. 14 arrests.

Ibrahim Ould Ali said his 70-year-old father Ali Ould Mohamed Kalbali was taken from his shop. Mariam Mint Elbakaye, a merchant's wife, said her husband Mohamed Ould Mohamed Lamine was grabbed by soldiers while in the street. A neighbor said two brothers were taken by the army from their home and another resident said four truck drivers were taken from the Abaradjou neighborhood.

Islamic extremists had fled Timbuktu before French and Malian forces arrived at the end of January.