Tuareg separatists protest Malian army's return to northern city of Kidal ahead of vote

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Residents in the northern Malian city of Kidal say demonstrators are protesting against the return of the Malian military.

Malian soldiers came back to Kidal on Friday afternoon, 16 months after they were chased out by a Tuareg separatist group, and later by an army of al-Qaida-linked fighters.

Now a group of Tuareg separatists has gathered outside a military camp where the Malian soldiers are staying. Mohamed Cisse says they are demanding that the army leave.

Northerners have accused the Malian military of carrying out attacks against civilians.

Many residents of Kidal were staying in their homes Saturday for fear of violence.

The military's return removes one of the major obstacles to an upcoming presidential election, scheduled to take place in just three weeks.