Former Tuareg rebels on Thursday entered Gao, the main city in northern Mali, to begin joint patrols with government troops, a key part of a peace accord for the troubled region.
The former rebel organisation, known as the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) had in 2015 signed a peace deal with government and loyalist militias.
In 2012 the Northern Mali fell into the hands of jihadists group linked to al-Qaeda. In 2013, an international military operation, pushed these fighters to the north. At the end of a lengthy negotiations, a peace agreement was finally signed in 2015 in Algiers between the Government and rebel groups. But its implementation remained difficult.
Mali regained control of the northern cities from the jihadists after a French-led international military intervention in January 2013, but insurgents remain active across large parts of the region.
Rival armed groups have repeatedly violated the ceasefire, threatening attempts to give the north a measure of autonomy to prevent separatist uprisings.
The 2015 peace deal was signed bring stability to a region that was the cradle of several Tuareg uprisings and a sanctuary for Islamist fighters.