Tags: AF | Mali | Militants

Mali's Islamists Withdraw Cease-Fire Pledge

BAMAKO, Mali — An Islamist group in northern Mali says it's suspending its pledge to halt hostilities less than a month after it agreed to do so.

The group Ansar Dine said negotiations with the Malian government are ultimately aimed at a military intervention to oust the Islamists from the West African nation and are not true peace talks. Still, the group said it remains committed to a dialogue with the Malian government in Bamako even though it is keeping its military options open.

The original offer had drawn skepticism from some observers, who noted the group's links to al-Qaida's North Africa branch.

Ansar Dine, which says it seeks autonomy for northern Mali, has been behind public executions, amputations and whippings in the area that it seized last year.

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