- Malian government and Taureg rebels loyal to Ibrahim Ag Bahanga on Thursday signed a truce aimed at ending conflict in northern Mali.
The signing, which took place in the Libyan capital Tripoli, followed a mediation by Libyan authorities.
In a joint statement, the two sides agreed to ceasefire, stop hostilities and create conditions geared towards bringing “a long-term settlement."
Mali and Bahanga's group have been clashing over control over parts of the northern region.
The deal, which saw the release of over 30 captured Malian soldiers, was believed to have been delayed by the government's air attack on rebel positions in the northern capital, Kidal on Wednesday.
Few weeks ago, an intervention by Libya led to the release of 22 hostages held by Ag Bahanga's group since
August last year. The group has been based in the mountainous desert area along the Mali-Algeria border.
Under the 2005 accord signed in the Algerian capital, Algiers, the rebel groups operating in the region agreed to drop their demands for autonomy provided the government was prepared to develop the three northern regions of Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu.
Bahanga's group opposed the accord, revived attacks and calls for the autonomy of north-western region.
Conflict in the region has posed security threats to the neighbouring Algeria as well.
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