Tuareg rebels agree to Mali truce

Separatists agree to ceasefire following deadly clashes in the town of Kidal that left about 20 soldiers dead.

    Tuareg separatists in Mali have accepted a ceasefire agreement proposed by African Union and United Nations officials, according to a senior Tuareg official.

    "I can confirm that we have agreed to a ceasefire," Ambeiry Ag Rhissa told Reuters by telephone from Kidal on Friday.

    "We have also agreed an exchange of prisoners and that an independent commission of inquiry should investigate what happened in [the northern town of] Kidal."

    The truce was agreed following talks between the Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and the Tuaregs in Kidal, the site of deadly fighting earlier this week.

    Albert Koenders, the UN special representative in Mali, accompanied Abdel Aziz in the meetings.

    A source in the Tuareg delegation at the meeting told Reuters the rebels had wanted the Malian government to accept responsibility for the clashes.

    Mali's defence minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga said late on Thursday about 20 soldiers had been killed and 30 others wounded in a failed attempt by government forces to retake Kidal, the Tuareg separatist stronghold.

    The army launched Wednesday's assault on Kidal after clashes erupted at the weekend during a visit to the town by new Prime Minister Moussa Mara.

    Eight civilians, including six government workers, were killed when the separatists attacked the local governor's office.

    Another 32 civil servants taken hostage by the rebels were later released.

    The government accused the separatists, including the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), of renewing their former alliances with al Qaeda-linked groups.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Cricket World Cup 2019 Quiz: How many runs can you score?

    Cricket World Cup 2019 Quiz: How many runs can you score?

    Pick your team and answer as many correct questions in three minutes.

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Remembering Chernobyl

    Remembering Chernobyl

    The fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion remains as politicised as ever, 28 years on.