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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

Inter-ethnic attacks continued in north and centre: armed men attacked ethnic Doosaak village in Gao region in north 2 Feb, killing four people and abducting three others; after ethnic Dogon hunters killed ethnic Fulani herder in dispute over well late Jan, armed men attacked Tonou village, Mopti region in centre 10 Feb, killing three Dogon. Civilian vehicle triggered improvised mine in Mopti region between Dera and Konna 9 Feb, six people killed. French Barkhane force pursued search and kill strategy against jihadist groups: strike in Ménaka region in east 8 Feb fatally wounded Sidiham Ag Tahama, lieutenant of Ansar Dine’s leader Iyad Ag Ghaly; strike near Algerian border 13 Feb killed another of his lieutenants and 24 alleged combatants. Two French soldiers killed near Indelimane in north east 21 Feb when their armoured vehicle triggered mine, claimed 23 Feb by jihadist coalition Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM). Six Malian soldiers and four UN peacekeepers killed when their vehicles triggered improvised mines in Mopti region 27 and 28 Feb respectively. Opposition party and families accused army of abducting seven civilians at Nangarabakan, Ségou region 21 Feb and later killing them; govt acknowledged civilians had been killed and said it had launched investigation. At summit in Brussels 23 Feb, donors increased pledges for G5 Sahel joint force to total of €414mn, with EU increasing its contribution from €50mn to €100mn.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

6 Mar 2017
Are we building any kind of sustainable peace [in Mali] through this kind of process that gives the most resources to the guys with guns? Reuters

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Deputy Project Director, West Africa
17 Nov 2016
"We're again, as we've been several times since 2013, at a defining moment [in the fight against jihadist groups in northern Mali]. On the political side things have improved, but it is very worrying security-wise. Daily Nation

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Deputy Project Director, West Africa
13 Sep 2016
Les populations du centre [du Mali] ont vu dans l'accès aux armes de guerre un moyen de se protéger et parfois de contester les hiérarchies en place. Ouest France

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Deputy Project Director, West Africa
6 Sep 2016
Despite the training provided by the European Union since 2013, the [Malian] army lacks capacity until today. We’re talking about a long-term undertaking. Bloomberg

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Deputy Project Director, West Africa
17 Aug 2016
Las partes se niegan a deponer las armas antes de saber quién va a gobernar localmente, cuál será su destino y qué posiciones serán para la Plataforma y cuáles para el CMA Política Exterior

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Deputy Project Director, West Africa

Latest Updates

Commentary / Africa

The Sahel: Promoting Political alongside Military Action

Rural insurgencies across the Sahel are destabilising the region and undermining local security and governance. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to continue support for the Alliance for the Sahel and promote local dialogue to buttress law and order.

Statement / Africa

Twelve Points for the New African Union Commission Chairperson

Africa is experiencing the highest number of humanitarian crises since the 1990s. As the new chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, takes office, International Crisis Group suggests how he can strengthen the organisation’s response to threats to continental peace and security.

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Commentary / Africa

The Sahel: Mali’s Crumbling Peace Process and the Spreading Jihadist Threat

With jihadists and armed groups exploiting political and security vacuums across the Sahel, Mali and neighbouring states will continue to face insecurity. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2017 annual early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to rethink international development strategies and to support local government initiatives that combat radicalisation.


Forced out of Towns in the Sahel, Africa’s Jihadists Go Rural

Jihadist groups have regrouped in the neglected hinterlands of Sahel countries and are launching attacks from them. To regain control of outlying districts, regional states must do far more to extend services and representation beyond recently recaptured provincial centres.

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