BAMAKO , Mali, May 23 (UPI) -- Armed Islamist rebels in northern Mali agreed to a ceasefire Friday after speaking with African Union chairman Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, a diplomatic source confirmed.
The ceasefire follows an unsuccessful attempt Wednesday by the Malian army to overtake the city of Kidal in central Mali, a rebel stronghold and strategic site.
"Through this ceasefire, the (rebel) groups undertake to stop fighting and stay where they are," the unidentified source said.
Adbel Aziz consulted with the three rebel groups of Tuareg separatists and Arab insurgents involved in extending Islamic influence past northern Mali.
About 20 Malian soldiers have been killed, and 30 injured, in fighting since Wednesday, the Malian defense ministry reported.