Mali Islamist militant leader announces unilateral ceasefire

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The head of the Islamist militant group Ansar Dine has agreed to cease attacks in Mali that have killed dozens of civilians, soldiers and UN peacekeepers this year, Mahmoud Dicko, president of the country’s top Islamic body, said on Monday.

Attacks by al Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine, one of the main Islamist groups operating in the West African nation, have spread to parts of the west and south previously considered secure, raising regional fears of a spill-over in violence.