Authorities in Mali are now looking for new avenues to reach a settlement with Islamist insurgents operating in the northern part of the country.
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita recently said that his government was ready to hold talks with the main jihadist leaders in the country.
Keita told French media last week that it is time for certain avenues to be explored, considering that the number of deaths in the Sahel is becoming exponential..”
The Malian President said that his government representatives have already made contact with two of Mali’s extremist leaders, Amadou Koufa and Iyad Ag Ghaly.
France has about 4,500 troops stationed in the Sahel Region, who are primarily focused on fighting the insurgency in Mali.
But in January, Paris agreed to deploy an additional 220 troops to the Sahel to combat the growing threat of extremism in the volatile region.
The insurgency in Mali began when a separatist uprising was largely taken over by Al-qaida affiliates. Those groups captured key cities in Northern Mali.