One of the rebel groups in northern Mali split with a breakaway faction today and pledged to negotiate for peace with the government and its foreign backers.
Former Ansar Dine leader Alghabass Ag Intalla said he and his men were breaking away to be "in control of our own fate."
Northern Mali - known as the Azawad to the ethnic Tuaregs who live there - was seized by a coalition of secular Azawad nationalist and Islamists amid a power vacuum during a coup in April 2012.
The secularists were later ousted by Ansar Dine and two other al-Qaida-linked Islamist groups.
The Malian government opened talks with Ansar Dine last year, hoping to drive a wedge between the largely indigenous fighters and foreign militants, many of whom brought their weapons while fleeing Libya after the downfall of Muammar Gadaffi.
The talks came undone over the implementation of sharia law. The rebels have been accused of unleashing a reign of terror on the population of northern Mali, including stoning "adulterers," banning non-religious music and mutilating criminals.
But Mr Intalla said he was ready negotiate again on that and his men would also fight against their former comrades.
Meanwhile, the Malian army came under fire for further alleged rights abuses during the conflict.
It was reported on Wednesday that soldiers had lined up a group of Tuaregs accused of being linked to the insurgents and shot them, throwing their bodies into a ditch.
French rights group FIDH also accused Malian forces of dozens of "summary executions" in the area.
The prime minister's office said today: "For several days information has come to use pointing to abuses committed on the ground that point to abuses that verge on human rights violations.
"The government reminds the army and security forces to show strict respect of human rights."
Former colonial power France said it had 2,300 troops in the country, while African forces numbered around 1,500.
French air strikes appear to have helped troops reclaim the cities in northern Mali, but rebels are thought to now be largely operating from desert bases.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis probably had a fair idea what Sir Ken Knight would deliver when he asked him to conduct an "independent" report into fire and rescue services in England.
As LGBT activists worldwide celebrate anti-homophobia day we are reminded of prevailing prejudice
Bradford has seen the launch of a new campaign to battle the sources of child sex exploitation - and combat far-right bids to make it a racial issue