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Mali ethnic militia group says it will lay down its arms

Mali ethnic militia group says it will lay down its arms


A militia in central Mali that represents ethnic Peuhls said on Saturday it would lay down its arms in a boost for government attempts to bring peace to the country.

The National Alliance to Safeguard the Peuhl Identity and Restore Justice was one of three groups that claimed an attack on an army base in central Mali in July in which 17 soldiers were killed. The other two groups were Islamist.

The alliance was founded in June 2015. It aims to defend ethnic Peuhl civilians from atrocities and does not agree with Islamist militant groups that operate in northern Mali or with the separatist agenda of the Coordination of Azawad Movements, which is also in the north.

Many ethnic Peuhl, or Fulani, people live in the region of Mopti and rear cattle, practicing a pastoralist or nomadic lifestyle.

Sources say the declaration was credible and that the alliance had effectively been forced into the decision because of an internal split.

Islamist groups have stepped up an insurgency in Mali this year, carrying out more than 60 attacks on United Nations and other targets since May and spreading south into areas previously deemed safe.

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