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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

Military junta which toppled President Keïta took steps to keep firm control over transition, while violence persisted in centre and north. Military junta National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) early Sept held talks with opposition and civil society groups including M5-RFP coalition in capital Bamako; tensions surrounded talks, with M5-RFP accusing CNSP of sidelining movement. CNSP 12 Sept announced 18-month transition before return to civilian rule and unveiled transition charter, which M5-RFP rejected, arguing some of its key provisions, notably possibility to appoint soldier as transition president, did not reflect discussions. Regional body Economic Community of West African States 7 Sept issued ultimatum to appoint civilian transition leaders by 15 Sept, later pushing deadline to 22 Sept.  Junta 21 Sept appointed retired General Bah N’Daw as transition president and Colonel Assimi Goïta, head of the CNSP, as VP. N’Daw 27 Sept appointed former FM Moctar Ouane as PM. Meanwhile, jihadist and communal violence persisted in centre and north. In centre, suspected jihadists overnight 3-4 Sept ambushed army convoy in Nara area, Koulikoro region, killing ten soldiers. Unidentified assailants 9 Sept killed four soldiers in Alatona area near Niono town, Ségou region. In Mopti region, series of incidents took place: unidentified gunmen 4 Sept fired at humanitarian vehicle in Bandiagara district, suspected members of Dogon militia Dana Ambassagou 9 Sept killed Dogon chief accused of collaborating with jihadist groups in Bamba commune, and suspected jihadists 29 Sept ambushed army convoy along Douentza-Boni axis, killing at least two soldiers. In north, French Barkhane convoy 5 Sept hit roadside bomb in Tessalit area, Kidal region, leaving two French soldiers dead. Members of two Tuareg clans 9 Sept exchanged gunfire in Ber commune, Timbuktu region, and several mortar shells same day fell near UN mission (MINUSMA) camp in same area.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Director, Sahel Project
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 armed insurrections and increased inter-communal violence. France24

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Director, Sahel Project
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
4 Nov 2019
The main fault-line for conflict in the Mali-Niger border has shifted. A year ago, it was drawn between communities. Now it lies between militants loosely fighting under an IS banner and state forces. Twitter

Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel
22 Oct 2019
Les groupes djihadistes sont passés experts dans l’instrumentalisation des conflits pour mieux s'implanter. RFI

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Director, Sahel Project

Latest Updates

Statement / Africa

Mali : défaire le coup d’Etat sans revenir en arrière

Le 18 août 2020 au Mali, un coup d’Etat militaire intervient après deux mois de manifestations contre le président Keïta. Les acteurs maliens et leurs partenaires doivent restaurer l’ordre constitutionnel, sans se contenter de rétablir le système et de remettre en place les personnalités renversées, qui ont largement contribué à générer la crise.

Q&A / Africa

Centre du Mali : enrayer le nettoyage ethnique

Une attaque visant des populations peul dans la région de Mopti a fait au moins 134 morts le 23 mars, dernier épisode d'une série de violences intercommunautaires. Dans ce questions-réponses, notre directeur du projet Sahel Jean-Hervé Jézéquel appelle les autorités maliennes à enrayer l'engrenage du nettoyage ethnique.  

Also available in English
Report / Africa

Narcotrafic, violence et politique au Nord du Mali

Dans le Nord du Mali, un trafic de drogue particulièrement concurrentiel suscite de graves violences et entrave l’application de l’accord de paix de 2015. Le Mali et ses partenaires devraient chercher à réduire les effets les plus délétères du narcotrafic en démilitarisant ses acteurs.

Also available in English
Commentary / Africa

Mali’s Elections Are an Opportunity to Reboot the Peace Process

Inter-communal violence along the Niger-Mali border and a scattered jihadist presence have left large swathes of Mali insecure. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018 annual early-warning update for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges Mali’s next president to reinvigorate the Bamako peace agreement and embark on long-term structural reform.

Watch List 2018 – Second Update

Crisis Group’s second update to our Watch List 2018 includes entries on seizing a chance for peace in Mali, avoiding escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh, mitigating conflict in Syria’s peripheral regions, and helping Somalia overcome obstacles to reform. This annual early-warning report identifies conflict situations in which prompt action by the European Union and its member states would generate stronger prospects for peace.

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Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel