Mali separatist rebels return to peace accord

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Separatist rebels in northern Mali say they’re returning to a peace accord with the government about a week after they said they were suspending their participation.

The announcement late Saturday was made in neighboring Burkina Faso after talks with mediator and Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore.

The accord’s suspension had raised fears of renewed violence in the north, and volleys of gunfire were exchanged on Sunday and Monday in Kidal town between the rebels and Malian soldiers.

Mahamadou Djeri Maiga, vice president of the separatist National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad, said the decision was made to return to talks “otherwise we were headed toward chaos.”

The return also comes after Malian authorities earlier this week released nearly two dozen prisoners, a key demand of the rebels.

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