Mali's rebel movement showed new signs of discord on Thursday in the wake of punishing French air strikes, with one wing of the Ansar Dine group now pledging to negotiate an end to the country's crisis and possibly even fight against its former comrades-in-arms.

France's air and land campaign that began two weeks ago to save Mali's embattled interim government has shaken up the military landscape and put the international spotlight on the former French colony. Mali's government was on a new political defensive, urging its soldiers to "strict respect" of human rights after new allegations that they had carried out summary executions in zones of battle against the radical Islamists.