DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Two Tuareg clans in north Mali, whose fighting has upset an accord meant to bring peace to the country, have signed a new agreement, the main separatist group said Wednesday.
The Ifoghas and Imghad clans signed the new agreement after negotiations last week, said the spokesman for the Coordination of Azawad Movements, Almouzamil Ag Mohamed.
The Ifoghas clan is in the main separatist group. The Imghad clan is a part of the government-allied militia group GATIA.
The two clans have clashed several times since the initial accord was signed between the government, separatists and government-allied groups in late June, upsetting peace in the region. They have been at odds for years over who gets greater control over Kidal in the north and also over an alliance with the government.
"If the tribal militias are willing to speak with us and find a peaceful solution, it is well aligned with the Bamako accord," said Ag Mohamed. The agreement signed Friday between Ifoghas and Imghad is among several others being negotiated,"he said.
The government is helping with the negotiations.
"The support of Mali's government during the meetings among tribes is moral support," said Azaz Ag Loudagdag, a member of the government-allied militia, GATIA. He said he welcomes the accord.
Insecurity in Mali's north has caused tensions among Tuaregs, some of whom support a separatist movement some the government. Fighting broke out in August, and the clans have clashed several times since.
Mali's northern half fell to separatists, and then Islamic extremists following a military coup in 2012. A French-led military intervention drove the extremists out of major towns, but north and central Mali remain insecure.