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Mali Tuareg rebels in peace pact

4 April 08 09:54 GMT

Mali's government and a Tuareg rebel group have signed a deal aimed at ending weeks of fighting in the remote north of the country.

Libyan mediators say the truce commits the government to scaling back its forces in the north.

The rebels have agreed to releasing more than 30 soldiers they captured in attacks last month.

Libya has promised to support the development of the region which reporters say underlies the unrest.

The Tuareg are an historically nomadic people living in the Sahara and Sahel regions of north Africa.

Tuareg militants in Mali and Niger have been engaged in sporadic armed struggles for several decades, demanding greater regional autonomy and a greater share of national resources.

The Malian military has accused them of involvement in drug-smuggling.

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