See also:
» 19.06.2013 - Breakthrough in Mali peace process
» 02.03.2011 - "Kenya, Niger, Mali troops support Ghaddafi"
» 13.12.2010 - Algeria, Mali distrust over al Qaeda fight
» 20.04.2010 - Joint Sahara forces to fight terrorism
» 23.02.2010 - Mauritania recalls ambassador over release of rebels
» 11.01.2010 - 20 days ultimatum put on Frenchman's head
» 27.11.2009 - French national abducted in Mali
» 05.02.2009 - Tuareg rebels beg for Algeria's mediation











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Mali
Politics

Mali government and rebels release prisoners

afrol News, 10 September - Malian government and Tuareg rebels have released prisoners abducted and held hostage northeast during a year old conflict, a move aimed at paving a way for formal peace negotiations to end a rebellion, government said on Wednesday.

The rebels have been in conflict with government demanding autonomy for their people in Africa's third largest gold producer.

Release of soldiers being held hostage was a key condition posed by president Amadou Toumani Toure's government to Tuareg insurgent chief Ibrahima Bahanga and other rebel leaders for a definitive solution to the conflict.

"Mali government informs its citizens that 44 of our soldiers abducted and held hostage northeast of Kidal were freed on 9 September," government said, further stating that all of the combatants arrested and held by nation's military authorities have been handed over to Tuareg leaders.

In July government reached a ceasefire agreement with ethnic Tuareg rebels to end nearly a year of clashes in northern dessert.

The deal was a direct resultant of Algerian brokered four days peace talks, held since Friday in the country's capital, Algiers, which brought together Mali government and militia to end hostilities in the region.

A ceasefire pact pushed for both parties to commit themselves to steps such as freeing hostages and prisoners to ease tension on the ground in northern Mali.

Mali has been roiled by conflict between rebels and government, while at the same time, smugglers also operate in the region and Islamic insurgents active in Algeria known as al-Qaeda in Islamic North Africa have crossed the border.

Mali had signed a peace deal with Tuaregs in July 2006 after conflict reignited following years of peace in the wake of a 1990s rebellion. However, one faction of the Tuareg group refused to sign the deal, saying it did not do enough to help the Tuaregs.


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