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Last Updated: Monday, 5 November 2007, 10:55 GMT
Tuareg leaders discuss Mali peace
A Tuareg man
A renewed Tuareg rebellion began in August
Two Tuareg leaders are to meet in Algiers to try to revive the peace process between Mali's government and the rebels in the north of the country.

Former rebel leader Iyad Ag Ghaly accompanied by Algerian delegates, will meet rebel leader Ibrahim Ag Bahanga.

A peace deal was signed in 2006 but Mr Bahanga broke the pact, declaring a renewed rebellion against Mali's army.

The indigenous, nomadic Tuareg want a greater political role and economic development in their desert region.

Malian President Amadou Toumani has previously said that the 2006 Algiers deal is not up for renegotiation.

The BBC's Mali reporter Celeste Hicks explains that Ibrahim Ag Bahanga has been leading what he calls a rebellion against the government from his base around Tinzaoutin in the far north of Mali, near to the Algerian border.

In August his group took about 40 people, mostly government soldiers, hostage.

Breach

Although he announced a truce for Ramadan and released some of them, about 20 are still in captivity.

His group was also responsible for laying land mines which killed 10 people.

There have been various unofficial attempts to negotiate with Mr Bahanga led by Tuareg elders in the Tinzaoutin area but Monday's meeting seems to be something more official.

The Algerian authorities are concerned by the insecurity on their shared border with Mali.

Mr Bahanga's rebel group's activities - a serious breach of the Algiers agreement - have been denounced by the broader Tuareg rebel group, the Democratic Alliance for Change.

It is unclear how much genuine support he has from the local population as some people believe he is using the cover of a rebellion to run a trans-Saharan smuggling racket which he denies, our reporter says.



SEE ALSO
Tuareg conflict spreads to Mali
28 Aug 07 |  Africa
Q&A: Tuareg unrest
07 Sep 07 |  Africa

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