The government of Mali and Tuareg separatists will exchange prisoners ahead of peace talks due to kick off Wednesday, in the Algerian capital, Algiers, sources close to the government said on Monday.Around one hundred prisoners of war from both sides hope to be freed in the exercise which is to be carried out under the supervision of the United Nations-led Multidimensional Stabilization Mission for Mali (MINUSMA).
It is worth recalling that prisoners exchange is part of the draft agreement signed by the two conflicting sides on 18 June 2013 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Mali has endured two years of political instability since Islamist rebels took advantage of a 2012 coup to seize the desert north.
French troops drove the al Qaeda-linked Islamists from the desert zone last year but other rebels remain in the north and newly elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has struggled to retain the local and international support that swept him to power last year.
Mali’s army suffered a heavy defeat in fighting with separatist rebels in May in the northern city of Kidal.
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