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

Violent conflict continued in north and centre, and UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) saw several troop contributors withdraw.

Rampant insecurity in north fuelled popular discontent. Main trade unions 8 Nov declared 48-hour general strike in Gao region to protest govt’s lack of response to growing insecurity; Algiers peace accord signatory group leader around same day called on young Tuaregs to join fight against Islamic State Sahel Province (IS-Sahel) in Gao. Meanwhile, deadly attacks continued across region. Notably, local officials 23 Nov reported jihadist attack on Kadji camp for internally displaced persons 21 Nov left 11 civilians dead. Encounters between IS-Sahel and rival al-Qaeda affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) reported around 12-13 Nov in Gao and Timbuktu regions; death toll unknown.

Violence involving jihadist militants and security forces continued in centre. Govt forces 1 Nov reportedly killed five JNIM militants near Pogo locality (Ségou region). JNIM militants 10 Nov killed three pro-govt militia fighters in Kargue village (Bandiagara region). MINUSMA convoy on its way to Timbuktu city 21 Nov hit mine near Douentza town in Mopti region, leaving three peacekeepers injured. Conflict took high civilian toll. Govt forces 12 Nov reportedly killed up to four civilians during operation in Birga-Peulh village, and 14 Nov allegedly killed four Fulani civilians near Derou village (both Mopti).

Key troop contributors announced withdrawal from MINUSMA. UK, Côte d’Ivoire and Germany 14-22 Nov announced withdrawal of their military contingents, leaving mission’s future uncertain. Meanwhile, MINUSMA 9 Nov reported govt forces 1 July-30 Sept committed 162 human rights abuses, 33% increase from 1 April - 30 June period; also noted limited ability to investigate abuses as MINUSMA personnel does not enjoy free movement. NGO International Federation for Human Rights 24 Nov warned that 2022 “will likely be the deadliest in Mali” since 2012, denounced impunity of those responsible for human right abuses.

In other important developments. After French govt 17 Nov suspended development assistance to Mali, citing presence of Russian paramilitary Wagner Group, Bamako 21 Nov banned French and French-funded NGOs from operating in country; number of NGOs subsequently suspended activity, including Doctors of the World-Belgium 22 Nov.

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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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