Security fears escalate in northern Mali town as rebels prepare to leave government buildings

Officials in the troubled northern Mali town of Kidal have expressed concern about the return of Islamic extremists, and residents say they have seen Tuareg rebels bearing arms in violation of a June peace accord, fueling concern about further insecurity.

The reports come as leaders of the Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad prepare to surrender control of the governor's administrative offices and the local radio station in Kidal, which like other cities in northern Mali fell to rebels including Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaida following a military coup in March 2012.

Though a French-led military intervention succeeded in liberating much of northern Mali earlier this year, Kidal has remained in limbo. Two French radio journalists were killed there after conducting an interview earlier this month.