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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

New transition president appointed PM and govt while army retained major influence over institutions; violence continued in north and centre. Following May military coup, Assimi Goïta formally sworn in as transition president 7 June. Goïta same day appointed opposition leader and former Minister Choguel Maiga as PM; 11 June nominated new govt comprising 28 members, including military officers retaining strategic ministries of defence, security and national reconciliation. Maiga 13 June held first Council of Ministers in capital Bamako, setting ambitious roadmap including elections to return civilians to power in Feb 2022. Main trade union National Workers’ Union of Mali 15 June threatened to resume protests if govt fails to adjust wage grids and harmonise benefits for public workers within next ten days. In response to coup, African Union 2 June suspended Mali’s membership, while Economic Community of West African States 19 June maintained Mali’s suspension. France 3 June said it would temporarily suspend joint military operations with Malian troops and 10 June announced end of Barkhane operation in Sahel. World Bank 4 June said it had temporarily paused payments to country. Meanwhile, jihadist violence continued in north and centre. Notably, Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) 1 June claimed killing five civilians on road between Gao city and Niger’s capital Niamey, and 3 June killed at least 11 people in Inkinbabane area, Ménaka region (north east). Car bomb attacks 21 June injured six French soldiers and four civilians in Gossi town, southern Timbuktu region (north), and 25 June injured 13 UN peacekeepers in Gao region (north). Jihadists same day attacked military outpost in Boni village, Mopti region (centre), killing at least six soldiers. Counter-insurgency operations continued. In Kidal region (north), French forces 5 June conducted operation near Aguelhok town in Tessalit district, killing presumed al-Qaeda-linked Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims militants, including senior commander Baye Ag Bakabo. Joint French-Nigerien operations in tri-border area between Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso dealt severe blow to ISGS, notably capturing ISGS figure Dadi Ould Chouaïb alias “Abu Dardar” 11 June. UN Security Council 29 June renewed UN mission (MINUSMA) until June 2022.
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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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

Director, Sahel Project
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

Latest Updates

Report / Africa

Enrayer la communautarisation de la violence au centre du Mali

Au Mali, les violences dans la zone située aux sud et sud-est de Mopti prennent un caractère de plus en plus communautaire. Les autorités de transition devraient harmoniser les initiatives de dialogue, renforcer la présence étatique et traiter les problèmes de fonds, notamment les conflits fonciers.

Also available in English
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

L’accord d’Alger cinq ans après : un calme précaire dont il ne faut pas se satisfaire

La mise en œuvre de l’accord de paix au Mali demeure incomplète et laborieuse cinq ans après sa signature. Mathieu Pellerin analyse la situation actuelle et explique pourquoi il faut accélérer les efforts pour instaurer les réformes de fond prévues par l’accord de 2015. 

Also available in English
Report / Africa

Reprendre en main la ruée vers l’or au Sahel central

Au Mali, au Burkina Faso et au Niger, le boom aurifère représente une nouvelle source de financement, voire un terrain de recrutement pour divers groupes armés, y compris jihadistes. Les Etats sahéliens devraient rétablir leur présence aux abords des mines d’or et mieux formaliser l’exploitation aurifère artisanale.

Also available in English
Report / Africa

Speaking with the “Bad Guys”: Toward Dialogue with Central Mali’s Jihadists

War between the state and jihadists in central Mali has led to growing intercommunal violence. To spare civilians additional harm, the government should explore the possibility of talks with the insurgents about local ceasefires and humanitarian aid – while remaining open to broader discussions.

Also available in Français

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Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel