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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

Violence in north and centre showed jihadist groups’ sustained capacity to inflict considerable damage; govt’s action plan sparked concern over transition timeline. In Gao region (north), suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 8 Aug simultaneously raided several villages in Ansongo district, killing at least 51 civilians, mostly women and children. In Ménaka region (east), explosive device 15 Aug killed three Malian soldiers near Ménaka airport. In Mopti region (centre), suspected al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM)-affiliated Katiba Macina militants 11 Aug clashed with Bambara “Donso” militiamen in Ténenkou district, leaving at least five Donso dead. Also in Mopti, unidentified gunmen 19 Aug ambushed army convoy on Nokora-Boni axis, Douentza district, killing at least 15 soldiers. In Ségou region (also centre), six villagers died due to lack of medical care after alleged Katiba Macina militants 3 July imposed blockade around Songo village in Niono district; situation could jeopardise truce agreed between Katiba Macina and Donso in Niono district in April 2021. National Transitional Council (CNT) 2 Aug adopted interim govt’s action plan for 2021-2022; priorities include improving security situation, carrying out political and institutional reforms, organising “transparent, credible, and inclusive” presidential and legislative elections in Feb-March 2022 and adopting social stability pact; some CNT members voiced concerns plan might be too ambitious given tight implementation timeframe, while several political parties including former President Keïta’s Rally for Mali expressed fear that plan could provide alibi for extension of transition period. Authorities 25 Aug arrested former PM Boubeye Maïga and former Economy Minister Bouaré Fily Sissoko over corruption and other allegations. Transition monitoring committee next day announced release of former Interim President Bah N’Daw and PM Moctar Ouane, who had been under house arrest since Assimi Goïta’s second coup in May.
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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