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Civilians Killed as Armed Groups Clash in Northern Mali

Up to nine civilians, including an aid worker for a European charity, were killed after rebels withdrew from a village they had seized in northern Mali, armed loyalist and anti-government groups said on Friday.

The west African nation's main Tuareg-led rebel alliance, the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA), said in a statement overnight that "the Malian army conducted the summary and public executions of nine people in the town of Tin Hama" on Thursday.

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Guard Wounded in Attack on U.N. Personnel in Mali's Capital

An unidentified gunman opened fire on a United Nations residence in the Malian capital Bamako on Wednesday, wounding a civilian guard and damaging vehicles, the organization’s MINUSMA peacekeeping mission said.

The assailant attempted to set fire to one of the force's vehicles parked in front of the residence housing troops in the city's southeastern Faso Kanu neighborhood around 2:30 am (0230 GMT), the force said in a statement.

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Three Malian Soldiers Killed in Rebel Attack

Mali's main Tuareg-led rebel alliance killed three soldiers on Monday in an ambush in the west African nation's restive desert north, military sources told AFP.

The Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) attacked the troops as they slept early in the morning, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the ancient caravan city of Timbuktu, a Malian army officer said on condition of anonymity.

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French Jihadist Gets Eight Years behind Bars

A French court on Friday sentenced a 60-year-old man to eight years behind bars for fighting alongside an Al-Qaida group in Mali.

The Paris criminal court handed down the sentence to Gilles Le Guen -- the first conviction under a law passed at the end of 2012 allowing authorities to prosecute those suspected of waging Jihad abroad.

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Mali's Government to Sign Peace Deal without Rebels

Mali gathered regional heads-of-state, government officials and armed groups on Friday for a largely ceremonial signing of a peace accord expected to go ahead without the main Tuareg-led rebel alliance.

The Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) initialed the document in Algiers on Thursday but has demanded concessions and says it will not attend Friday's ceremony in the Malian capital Bamako to rubber-stamp the deal.

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Mali's Tuareg Rebels Take Step towards Peace Deal

Mali's main Tuareg-led rebel alliance initialed a peace agreement with the government Thursday but demanded changes before signing a deal to end decades of conflict in the west African nation.

The international community is trying to persuade at least some Mali rebels to sign an accord in Bamako on Friday following months of U.N.-backed negotiations and numerous ceasefire violations.

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Mali Rebels to Initial Peace Deal on Thursday

Mali's Tuareg-led rebel alliance will initial a peace accord within 24 hours that was drawn up with the government to bring stability to the conflict-hit west African nation, Algerian mediators said on Wednesday.

Abdelaziz Benali Cherif, a spokesman for Algeria's foreign ministry, confirmed that the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) would signal its commitment to the document, thrashed out over months under U.N. auspices, in Algiers on Thursday.

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International Community Pushes Mali Rebels on Peace Accord

Despite numerous ceasefire violations, international brokers are desperate to persuade at least part of Mali's rebel alliance to sign a peace accord, so they can claim the process has been a success, say analysts.

French and Algerian foreign ministers Laurent Fabius and Ramtane Lamamra, in Algiers for talks on Tuesday, called on all parties to attend the signing ceremony in Bamako on Friday.

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France, Algeria Urge Mali Factions to Sign Peace Deal

France and Algeria on Tuesday urged Mali's warring factions to sign a peace deal between the Bamako government and northern rebel groups this week.

"We call in the clearest terms for the signing of this text, in the interest of peace in Mali and the region," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said during a press conference with his counterpart Ramtane Lamamra in Algiers.

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Rebels Kill Eight Malian Soldiers in Restive North

Eight Malian soldiers were killed Monday in the country's restive north in an ambush by fighters from the west African nation's main Tuareg-led rebel alliance, humanitarian and security sources told AFP.

"During an ambush of the Malian army by the rebel Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) between Timbuktu and Goundam on Monday morning, eight Malian soldiers were killed and several wounded," an official from a charity in the area said.

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