Mali ethnic militia says will lay down arms

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A militia in Central Mali said on Saturday that it would lay down its arms, a huge boost for the government in its attempts to bring peace to the country.

The National Alliance to Safeguard the Peuhl Identity and Restore Justice, a militia group that represents ethnic Peuhls, was one of the groups that claimed an attack on an army base in July, in which 17 soldiers were killed.

The alliance was founded in 2015 with the aim of defending the ethnic Peuhl civilians from atrocities, and does not agree with Islamist militant groups that operate in northern Mali or with the separatist agenda of the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), which is also in the north.

Many ethnic Peuhl, or Fulani, people live in the region of Mopti and rear cattle, practicing a pastoralist or nomadic lifestyle.