Mali's president acknowledges contact with armed groups

Marking a shift in his previous approach, Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita acknowledged that he has opened up for dialogue with armed groups. Frank Franklin II/AP

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has for the first time acknowledged contacts with armed groups, an option the government has long rejected.

"The number of deaths in the Sahel is becoming exponential and it's time that certain paths be explored," he said in an interview with French media due to be broadcast on Monday.

Mali has struggled to contain an armed group revolt that broke out in the country in 2012, claiming thousands of military and civilian lives since.

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