Bamako: Armed rebels who humiliated Mali`s army in a deadly offensive across the northern desert agreed to a ceasefire Friday after talks with African Union chairman Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, a diplomatic source said.
Abdel Aziz "just obtained a ceasefire here in Kidal from representatives of the three armed groups he was meeting... Through this ceasefire, the groups undertake to stop fighting and stay where they are," the source told AFP by telephone from Kidal.
The source could not immediately provide any further details on the negotiations but said Abdel Aziz, the Mauritanian president, would leave "any time now".
Around 20 Malian soldiers have been killed and 30 wounded since Wednesday as Tuareg and Arab insurgents captured the flashpoint northern town of Kidal and the smaller settlement of Menaka, according to the defence ministry.
Abdel Aziz cut short a visit to Rwanda to hold urgent ceasefire talks with the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUC) and the Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA).