A representative of Cameroonian government had talks with several anglophone separatist leaders to try to find a peaceful resolution to the lingering conflict that has devastated the country’s English-speaking regions.
Rebels took up arms against the state nearly three years ago citing years of discrimination by the largely French-speaking government.
At least 3,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.
The UN secretary general and several Nobel laureates recently appealed for all sides to stop the fighting.
The nine separatist leaders are serving life sentences but were briefly let out of prison in the capital, Yaounde, to have this meeting with a government envoy.
The ultimate aim is to agree a ceasefire.
The talks are quite secretive but a lawyer in touch with people at the meeting told me that the mood was cordial and with several major factions of the separatist rebels represented he said there was reason to be cautiously optimistic.
These are early steps but people in Cameroon will be praying for a breakthrough.
The rebellion is having a devastating impact – especially as 750,000 children have seen their schools close down.