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Rebel group Ansar al-Dine splits with breakaway group calling for peace talks

Last modified: 24 Jan 2013 13:15
Mali's Ansar al-Dine (Defenders of the Faith) rebel group, which holds swathes of the country's vast desert north, has split and the breakaway faction says it is ready for peace talks.

The newly-formed Islamic Movement for Azawad said in a statement that it "rejected all forms of extremism and terrorism and was committed to fighting them", adding that it wanted a "peaceful solution" to the Mali crisis.

The statement said the new group, was composed entirely of Malian nationals.

It called on "Malian authorities and France to cease hostilities in the zones that we are occupying in the north-eastern regions of Kidal and Menaka to create a climate of peace which will pave the way for an inclusive political dialogue."

Al Jazeera's reporters on the ground say that the split is a last minute survival tactic by the already fragmented group.