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Tuareg rebels announce end to 'military operations' in Mali

The UN Security Council's call for an immediate ceasefire and return to democracy in Mali has prompted an announcement of an end to "military operations" by Tuareg rebels in the north.

(REUTERS) Bamako - The UN statement adopted by the 15-member council also expressed "strong condemnation of the forcible seizure of power from the democratically-elected government" and urged the mutineers "to ensure the safety and security of all Malian officials."

The meeting came as world leaders scrambled to stop Mali's descent into chaos two weeks after a coup in Bamako touched off a sequence that saw Tuareg rebels backed by radical Islamists conquer half the country.

Both France, the country's former colonial master, and the United States have invested significantly in Mali in a bid to stem growing extremism in the Sahel region.

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