Mali

Since 2012, Mali has faced a volatile crisis as political armed groups, including ethnic based movements, jihadist groups and transnational criminal networks, fight for hegemony and the control of trafficking routes in the North. The 2015 peace agreement remains very difficult to implement and signatory groups still resort to violence to settle differences. Jihadist violence against security forces is increasing and militants have gone rural to capitalise on local conflicts and the absence of the State to secure safe havens and new recruits. Mali’s instability has regional consequences as violent extremism spills into neighbouring countries.  Through field research, timely reports and advocacy with regional and local actors, Crisis Group seeks to broaden understanding of the complex roots of violence in Mali via local, gendered and regional lenses and to find solutions to problems of governance.

CrisisWatch Mali

Unchanged Situation

Jihadists pressed ahead with offensive in north, while govt forces and allies sustained counter-insurgency operations in centre; transitional authorities pushed ahead with plan to change constitution.

Islamic State Sahel Province clashed with rival as it consolidates control in north. In Ménaka region, local populations in Oct continued to flee from areas around regional capital Ménaka amid rumours that IS Sahel militants may seek to assault city. Also in Ménaka, IS Sahel and al-Qaeda Affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) late Oct reportedly engaged in intense fighting in Adéraboukane, Inchnane and Tamalate localities; local sources said JNIM had gained upper hand. IS Sahel continued to make progress in Ansongo district of Gao region, where ambush on military convoy near Fafa locality 1 Oct wounded six. In Kidal region, UN mission MINUSMA peacekeepers 17 Oct hit explosive device near Tessalit village, leaving four dead.

Fighting continued apace in centre as military tries to reconquer lost territories. Military 3-5 Oct killed 31 presumed JNIM militants and destroyed two of their bases in Niono district (Ségou region); 4-6 Oct arrested 50 presumed jihadists in Sofara town and Mopti city (both Mopti region). Also in Mopti, public bus 13 Oct hit explosive device between Bandiagara and Goundaga towns, killing 10; local officials 31 Oct claimed govt forces and private security company Wagner operatives previous day killed at least 13 civilians in Guelledjé locality, Ténenkou district.

Transitional authorities poised to change constitution and militarise police. Constitutional drafting commission 11 Oct submitted preliminary draft of new constitution to interim President Goïta, who wants to put new constitution to referendum in March 2023. Coalition gathering dozens of opposition parties in following days insisted drafting process should be handled by democratically elected civilian govt. Meanwhile, transitional legislative body late Oct passed law allowing police and civil protection services to play more active role in fight against jihadist groups while also depriving officers of their right to strike.

Govt continued to confront traditional security partners. At UN Security Council, FM Abdoulaye Diop 18 Oct again accused France of supporting jihadists and undermining Mali’s sovereignty; Paris immediately denounced “slander”. Negotiations for release of 46 Ivorian soldiers dragged on (see Côte d’Ivoire).

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In The News

26 Jan 2022
Considering Ecowas’ recent failures to deter coups, what happened in Mali and Burkina Faso may inspire other officers in the region. Bloomberg

Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim

Consulting Analyst, Sahel
27 May 2021
Everyone seems obsessed with what is going on in Bamako, and that is another indication for the people in [Mali's] countryside that the state is not coming back. The Washington Post

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Project Director, Sahel
25 Sep 2020
Mali has a lot of issues related to the Sahel. Al-Jazeera

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Project Director, Sahel
19 Aug 2020
Eight years of effort, investment, presence to basically return to the situation of Mali at the time of the 2012 coup, with a confused situation in Bamako, more violent a... France24

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Project Director, Sahel
7 Aug 2020
The composition of the national assembly is disputed. If the [Malian] president were to resign, it would mark a big jump into the void. The Economist

Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim

Consulting Analyst, Sahel
20 Jul 2020
[Mahmoud Dicko] has been able to position himself as this person who can channel the people's anger toward protest on several issues. Al Jazeera

Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim

Consulting Analyst, Sahel

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