The Malian Civil War (16 January 2012-) was fought between the Malian government, several African nations, French Army troops, and United Nations peacekeepers and Islamist rebels and their Azawad independence co-belligerents. In January 2012, a rebellion in northern Mali began as several Tuaregs - many of them returning mercenary veterans of the Libyan Civil War - rebelled against the government of Amadou Toumani Toure with the goal of creating an independent Tuareg state of Azawad in the north, separating northern Mali from the indigenous African south. In March 2012, Toure was overthrown in a military coup due to his incompetence, and the constitution was suspended, delving Mali into anarchy. Kidal, Gao, and Timbuktu were overrun by the rebels, and the MNLA declared the independence of Azawad on 6 April 2017. However, Islamist groups such as Ansar Dine took advantage of the rebellion to declare sharia law in territories controlled by them, and the MNLA and Islamists failed to agree on the creation of a united Azawad, leading to an Islamist offensive that took over much of northern Mali and ended the independent state of Azawad. In January 2013, France began a military intervention against the Islamists, who destroyed Sufi shrines and historical sites, and forces from other African Union states also arrived to assist the government. By 8 February 2013, the Islamist-held territories had been returned to government control, and ceasefire agreements were made with the rebels in 2013 and in 2015. After a 19 February 2015 ceasefire was declared between the Malian government and the MNLA, the Azawad independence movement lost its strength, but Islamist militants continued to carry out sporadic terrorist attacks and ambushes against the government forces, even as French Army forces slowly withdrew.