Malian Army and Rebels Peace deal holds ahead of elections

The Malian army re-entered Kidal, the town held by rebels, as part of peace efforts to improve the security prior to the upcoming presidential election, said officials.

Taureg rebels took control of Kidal after an offensive led by the French forced the Islamist militants out, back in February.

However, in June the rebels agreed to allow army troops into the town, located in the northern region of Mali, as part of the recent peace deal between the two.

The rebels’ occupation of the town has been a big obstacle in organizing the upcoming election that will take place on July 28.

On Friday, it is believed that over 200 soldiers from the Malian army along with police arrived at the town.

A spokesperson for the military said that everything was well with the arrival of the army and police.

Under the peace deal terms, the rebels went back to their barracks with the supervision being run by peacekeepers from the United Nations.

Rebels cannot patrol inside the town leading up to the election, which is considered important to the recovery of Mali after months of armed conflict.

Troops from the Malian military were run out of Kidal by National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, a separatist movement, in 2012.

In April of 2012, the MNLA and Islamist groups worked together to seize the northern region of the country.

The advance of the MNLA prompted the French to send troops into its former colony. Later, the MNLA broke from the different Islamist groups and helped the French to oust them.

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