Mali's prime minister makes rare visit to rebel-held Kidal

Mali's prime minister has traveled to the northern rebel stronghold of Kidal, marking the first such trip since a now stalled peace deal was signed in 2015.

Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga arrived Friday morning in this town that has been home to a separatist movement for years.

The last time a prime minister visited Kidal was in 2014, when his delegation found itself in the center of bloody clashes between the Malian army and armed groups in the area.

Nina Walet Intalou, Mali's tourism minister and a member of the prime minister's delegation, says "many things have changed since 2014."

Northern Mali has seen violence not only from separatists but also from radical jihadists, who controlled Kidal and the other major northern towns in 2012.