CrisisWatch is our early warning and global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.
Violence continued unabated in centre, infighting between rival jihadist groups persisted in north, and tensions surrounded formation of interim legislative body. Jihadist and intercommunal violence continued in centre. Jihadist group Katiba Macina 9 Dec attacked Dogon militia Dana Ambassagou in Songho area, Mopti region, killing five militiamen. Explosive device 28 Dec killed three French soldiers in Hombori area, also Mopti region; al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) later claimed responsibility. In neighbouring Ségou region, High Islamic Council early Dec led mediation between jihadists and ethnic Bambara hunters around Farabougou village, which has been under jihadist siege since Oct; jihadists insisted on Bambara hunters’ disarmament and compliance with Sharia law; EU Commission 2 Dec reported conflict around Farabougou had displaced around 17,000 people. In northern Timbuktu region, infighting between JNIM and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) 12 Dec left at least 15 ISGS and five JNIM combatants dead near N’Daki village. Also in north, airstrikes by French Operation Barkhane 1 Dec killed unspecified number of JNIM combatants on Ansongo-Ménaka axis, and 10 Dec reportedly killed six JNIM militants in Diay area, Timbuktu region. Interim govt 3 Dec published list of 121 members of newly formed legislative body National Transitional Council (CNT). Coalition of opposition and civil society groups (M5-RFP) next day announced boycott of CNT over lack of power sharing, said interim govt violated constitution and transition charter by unilaterally appointing members instead of letting political parties and social groupings select their representatives; some actors however supported and joined CNT, including members of M5-RFP and former PM Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga. CNT 5 Dec elected Colonel Malick Diaw, VP of military junta’s governing body, as CNT president. Public prosecutor’s office 31 Dec reportedly charged six public figures, including former PM Boubou Cissé, with “coup attempt” over reported allegations that they plotted to “destabilise” transitional institutions. Main opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé 25 Dec died of COVID-19 in France; Cissé was released in Oct after being held hostage for six months by jihadist militants.
Interim authorities faced growing opposition while inter-communal violence and jihadist activity continued in centre. Rifts widened between military junta’s governing body, National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), on one hand, and political parties, civil society and trade unions, on the other, over perceived lack of power sharing. President Bah N’Daw 9 Nov issued decrees on formation of interim legislative body National Transitional Council (CNT), giving VP and CNSP leader Assimi Goïta authority to appoint CNT members and outlining allocation of 121 seats to different forces, among which CNSP will be best represented with 22 seats. Coalition of opposition and civil society groups M5-RFP, which led uprising against former President Keïta, 11 Nov said “unacceptable” decrees revealed transition’s “purely military” nature; former PM Moussa Mara’s Yelema party, along with other political forces, same day said they would boycott CNT. Govt 25 Nov appointed senior military figures as governors of several regions, bringing total of regions governed by military or police officers to 13 of 20. Meanwhile, inter-communal violence erupted in Ségou region in centre after suspected jihadists stormed Farabougou village in Oct. Ethnic Bambara 31 Oct-2 Nov clashed with suspected jihadists and ethnic Fulani in several villages around Farabougou; at least four dead, including one soldier. Jihadist and inter-communal violence continued in neighbouring Mopti region. Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 3 Nov attacked bus on Parou-Songobia axis, Bandiagara district, killing eight. Dogon militiamen 12 Nov killed three Fulani in ambush near Mandio locality, Mopti district. Unidentified assailants 23-24 Nov attacked Minimakanda village, Bankass district, killing at least four in apparent retaliation for jihadist attacks there in Oct. Meanwhile, also in Mopti, French Operation Barkhane reportedly killed 50 Ansarul Islam-affiliated insurgents in Pogol-N’Daki area, Douentza district 30 Oct-1 Nov and 30 other suspected jihadists in Niaki area, Koro district 12 Nov. French govt 13 Nov said ground and air operation 10 Nov killed senior JNIM commander Bah ag Moussa in Ménaka region in east. JNIM 30 Nov claimed series of rocket attacks upon French military outposts in Gao, Kidal (both north) and Ménaka regions same day.
Military junta secured international support following conciliatory moves, while jihadist attacks continued unabated in centre and north. Junta’s governing body, National Council for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), 1 Oct published transitional charter with major amendment to prerogatives of VP, junta leader Colonel Assimi Goïta, as required by regional body ECOWAS. Interim President N’Daw 4 Oct appointed 25-member govt, awarding four key portfolios to military officials. Coalition of opposition and civil society groups M5-RFP 6 Oct said it was not represented in govt despite its “key role in toppling former President Keïta”, called on supporters to remain mobilised. Meanwhile, ECOWAS same day lifted post-coup commercial and financial sanctions on Mali, called on interim govt to dissolve CNSP and release 12 individuals arrested during coup; govt 8 Oct announced their release. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell 16 Oct expressed support for transition, and EU same day announced resumption of its training and capacity-building activities in Mali. Interim govt 8 Oct announced release of four hostages detained by jihadist Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM), including opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé; in exchange, govt reportedly released 200 prisoners, including high-profile JNIM figures. Meanwhile, jihadist attacks continued unabated in centre and north. In central Mopti region, suspected jihadists 6 Oct attacked military outpost near Koro town, killing three. JNIM 13 Oct attacked military base in Sokoura town, killing at least nine soldiers; later same day killed at least two soldiers and 12 civilians in two separate attacks on Bandiagara-Bankass axis. Amid counter-insurgency operations in Bankass and Koro areas, local NGO accused army of killing 15 Fulani civilians in Libbé village in Bankass area 22 Oct. In neighbouring Ségou region, suspected jihadists 6 Oct abducted around 20 civilians in Farabougou village, few days later killed five others. In north, suspected jihadists 1 Oct attacked police patrol in Timbuktu city, killing two; MINUSMA vehicle 9 Oct hit explosive device in Kidal region, three peacekeepers injured; JNIM later claimed attack. Ethnic Songhai and Arab communities mid-Oct clashed in Timbuktu city, death toll unknown; clashes erupted after suspected robbers 10 Oct killed Songhai individual.
Military junta which toppled President Keïta took steps to keep firm control over transition, while violence persisted in centre and north. Junta's governing body 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.
Following mass anti-govt protests since June, military coup forced President Keïta to resign; violence continued at lower intensity in centre and north. After reports emerged 18 Aug of early morning shots in Kati and N’Tominkorobougou military bases near capital Bamako, army convoys moved from Kati to Bamako, and soldiers arrested several senior govt officials, including Keïta and PM Boubou Cissé. Keïta stepped down in televised address following night. Group of senior military officers calling themselves National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), led by army colonel Assimi Goita, next day claimed responsibility. Coalition of opposition and civil society groups M5-RFP, which has been at forefront of anti-Keïta protests since June under leadership of prominent Imam Mahmoud Dicko 20 Aug said they were ready to work with CNSP. Thousands of opposition supporters next day celebrated Keïta’s removal in Bamako. Amid widespread international condemnation of coup, delegation of regional body Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) 22-24 Aug met CNSP, Keïta and Cissé in Bamako to mediate transition back to civilian rule; talks failed to yield agreement after CNSP reportedly pushed for three-year military-led transition. CNSP 27 Aug released Keïta. ECOWAS next day demanded immediate civilian-led transition and elections within one year; France 30 Aug said CNSP’s three-year transition proposal was “out of question”, calling for quick return to civilian rule; discussions on format of transition still ongoing late Aug amid tensions between CNSP and M5-RFP. Prior to coup, thousands protested against Keïta in Bamako 11 Aug, and again on day of coup 18 Aug. Meanwhile, violence persisted at lower intensity in centre and north. In Ségou region in centre, suspected jihadists 2 Aug killed at least five soldiers in simultaneous attacks on army base and convoy in Niono circle. In neighbouring Mopti region, explosive devices 21-22 Aug killed two gendarmes and four soldiers in Bandiagara and Koro areas; suspected jihadists 27 Aug ambushed soldiers on Konna-Douentza axis, killing four. In town of Gao in north, clashes between ethnic Songhaï and Arab communities 17 Aug left two dead; unidentified assailant 30 Aug reportedly killed Arab trader.
Political crisis turned deadly despite regional mediation efforts, while violence continued at lower intensity in centre and north. Tens of thousands 10 July protested against President Keïta in capital Bamako for third time since early June; protesters clashed with security forces, set up roadblocks and ransacked administrative buildings; unrest continued in following days, reportedly leaving at least 14 dead and dozens injured 10-12 July; protest followed calls by coalition of opposition and civil society groups M5-RFP, led by prominent Imam Mahmoud Dicko, demanding Keïta’s resignation, formation of M5-RFP-led govt, dissolution of National Assembly and Constitutional Court. In address to nation 11 July, Keïta announced de facto dissolution of Constitutional Court. President’s son Karim Keïta, under growing scrutiny for his lavish lifestyle, 14 July resigned as chair of National Assembly’s National Defence, Security and Civil Protection Commission. Regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) 14 July appointed former Nigerian President Jonathan special envoy for Mali; mediation mission 15-19 July failed to reach deal to end deadlock; ECOWAS 23 July sent African heads of state delegation to Mali to pursue mediation efforts; 27 July held virtual extraordinary summit, proposed four-point plan to solve crisis including creation of national unity govt and resignation of MPs whose elections are contested, but called Keïta’s resignation “red line”. Keïta same day reshuffled cabinet, asked new ministers to negotiate with opposition to form unity govt. M5-RFP next day rejected plan and reiterated demand for president’s resignation. Meanwhile, violence persisted in Mopti region in centre, albeit at lower intensity. Suspected Fulani armed groups 1 July attacked several Dogon villages in Bankass circle, killing at least 33. Rising tensions between Dogon militia Dan Na Ambassagou and Dogon villagers who refuse to adhere to its rule led to clashes in Koro Cercle. Notably, Dan Na Ambassagou 4 July killed three Dogon civilians in Berda village. In Timbuktu region in north, suicide attack 23 July killed French soldier near Gossi city; al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims 30 July claimed responsibility.
Political crisis escalated after tens of thousands demonstrated against President Keïta; meanwhile authorities faced new allegations of extrajudicial killings amid persistent jihadist and intercommunal violence in centre and north. In capital Bamako, tens of thousands took to streets 5 and 19 June to call on Keïta to step down, citing worsening insecurity, failure to secure release of opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé abducted in north in March, and controversial annulment of parts of legislative elections’ results by Constitutional Court in April; protests followed calls by coalition of opposition and civil society groups led by prominent religious leader Imam Mahmoud Dicko. Keïta 11 June reappointed PM Boubou Cissé after he resigned same day, 16 June promised to open consultations on Constitutional Court’s decision and form unity govt; opposition immediately rejected latter proposal. Regional bloc West African Economic Community (ECOWAS) 18 June sent high-level delegation to mediate dispute, and 20 June called for formation of unity govt and partial rerun of legislative elections. In Mopti region in centre, army faced new accusations of extrajudicial killings. Ethnic Fulani association 6 June said soldiers killed at least 14 civilians in village of Niangassadiou, Douentza circle 3 June, and 26 others in village of Binédama, Koro circle 5 June. Govt 7 June announced investigation. Meanwhile in Mopti, jihadist violence continued. IED 7 June killed at least eight civilians on Dianwely-Douentza axis. Suspected jihadists 27 June attacked military in village of Dinangourou near Burkina Faso border, killing at least two soldiers. In neighbouring Ségou region, suspected jihadists 14 June ambushed military patrol near Bouka Wéré locality, killing at least 24 soldiers. In north, French forces 3 June killed leader of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) Abdelmalik Droukdal in operation in Talhandak, Kidal region near border with Algeria; French Barkhane forces same day killed several suspected jihadists near Ouatagouna town, Gao region. Meanwhile, suspected jihadists 13 June attacked UN mission (MINUSMA) convoy near Tarkint village, also Gao region, killing two peacekeepers.
Jihadist and intercommunal violence continued unabated in centre, and infighting between competing jihadist groups persisted in north and centre. In Mopti region in centre, Bambara Dozo hunters 5 May stormed Fulani village of Djongué Ouro, Djenne circle, killing at least twelve; attack reportedly in retaliation of 3 May raid on neighbouring village of Djongué Bambara by suspected jihadists which reportedly killed four. Security forces and Dogon militia Dan Na Ambassagou 13 May reportedly killed six jihadist militants in Dioungani area, Koro circle; three militiamen also killed. Security forces 15 May said they killed around 30 suspected jihadists in previous day raid near border with Burkina Faso. Unidentified assailants 23-27 May reportedly killed at least 28 civilians in several attacks on ethnic Dogon villages in Bankass, Bandiagara and Koro circles. Security forces continued to face allegations of extrajudicial killings. Notably, army 10 May reportedly killed six Fulani civilians in Dinangourou, Koro circle. Infighting between jihadist groups continued in north and centre throughout month, with jihadist Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) reportedly driving out Islamic State (ISIS)-affiliated combatants from most of northern Gao region, and JNIM-affiliated Katiba Macina reportedly inflicting heavy losses on ISIS factions in inner Niger Delta area of Mopti region. After Constitutional Court late April annulled 5.2% of total votes in second round of legislative elections held 19 April, resulting in ruling party winning ten additional seats in National Assembly, protests broke out early May in several cities, including capital Bamako, Sikasso and Kati, leaving several injured. National Assembly 11 May elected ruling party MP Moussa Timbiné as president. After protests against COVID-19 curfew erupted in several cities early May, including Kayes, Bamako and Bandiagara, govt 9 May lifted curfew throughout country.
Infighting between jihadist groups broke out in centre early month, while jihadist and intercommunal violence continued in several regions. Competing jihadist groups Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) and Katiba Macina clashed early April in Mopti and Ségou regions in centre allegedly over latter’s willingness to engage in dialogue with govt, reportedly leaving over 100 mainly ISGS militants dead. Suspected Katiba Macina militants 2-3 April freed eight main opposition party Union for the Republic and Democracy staff kidnapped late-March alongside party leader Soumaïla Cissé in Timbuktu region in north; Cissé remained captive. In Gao region in north, jihadist Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 6 April attacked Bamba military base, killing at least 25 soldiers; twelve militants also killed. In Kayes region in west, suspected jihadists 6 April killed custom officer in Sebekoro town and gendarme in Sanankoro locality, raising concerns jihadist violence could spread westward. Intercommunal violence persisted in Mopti region in centre. Notably, suspected Fulani gunmen 21 April killed at least twelve people in several villages near Bandiagara city. In second round of legislative elections held 19 April, ruling party Rally for Mali came first, winning 51 of 147 seats in parliament. Suspected jihadists prevented vote or forced villagers to boycott vote in several localities in north, centre, east. Media 12 April reported security forces arrested at least six people late March-early April on charges of “attempting to destabilise democratic institutions”, sparking rumours of coup attempt. UN mission (MINUSMA) 30 April said security forces carried out more than 100 extrajudicial killings 1 Jan-31 March.
Violence marred first round of legislative elections, leaving several dead and opposition leader missing, while jihadists stepped up attacks in north. Following govt’s call for dialogue in Feb, jihadist coalition Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 8 March announced willingness to enter talks on condition that French forces and UN mission (MINUSMA) withdraw from Mali. JNIM 19 March attacked Tarkint military outpost in northern Gao region, killing 29 soldiers. Explosive device 24 March killed two soldiers in Mopti region in centre. Amid ongoing intercommunal violence in centre, suspected Fulani militiamen 15 March attacked Sogou Yoguem village in Koro area, Mopti region, clashed with Dogon militiamen (Dozos), leaving four dead; Dozos and alleged Fulani militiamen 16 March clashed in Danialy village in Bandiagara area, also Mopti region, seven killed. After campaign for legislative elections started 8 March, PM Cissé 19 March said first and second rounds would take place as planned 29 March and 19 April in spite of COVID-19 outbreak. Main opposition coalition Front for the Salvation of Democracy and civil society platform Anw Ko Mali Dron 7-8 March raised concerns over lack of credibility of electoral list, exclusion of eleven constituencies from poll and insecurity in north and centre. Suspected Katiba Macina militants 25 March abducted opposition leader Soumaila Cissé and eleven members of his team while they were campaigning in Cissé’s home district of Niafunké, Timbuktu region. Vote 29 March was marred by low turnout and violence: notably, explosive device killed nine civilians near N’gorkou in Timbuktu region, and armed individuals reportedly ransacked polling station in Boni area.
Attacks by jihadists, armed militia and counter-insurgency operations killed dozens in centre, while govt and armed groups in north took important step toward implementation of 2015 peace agreement. In major strategic shift, President Keita 10 Feb announced support for dialogue between govt and jihadist leaders Amadou Kouffa and Iyad ag Ghaly. In Mopti region in centre, suspected jihadists 12 Feb attacked Dialoubé military post, killing soldier; army said it repelled attack, killing five suspected jihadists; Dogon militiamen 14 Feb killed at least 30 in Fulani Ogossagou village; army reportedly repelled suspected jihadist attack on military base in Koro area 6 Feb, killing over a dozen assailants. French forces 20 Feb said they had killed 50 suspected Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaeda-affiliated militants in Mopti area 9-17 Feb. In north, suspected jihadist attack on military outpost of Bambara Maoundé killed four soldiers 23 Feb. Govt 27 Feb reportedly recalled Ambassador to France Toumani Djimé Diallo after he criticised conduct of French soldiers in Mali 26 Feb, prompting French govt to summon him. African Union 27 Feb announced temporary deployment of 3,000-strong force to combat jihadist groups in Sahel. In major step toward implementation of peace process in north, reconstituted army – mixed force composed of national troops and integrated forces from armed groups signatory of 2015 peace agreement – mid-Feb started to deploy in Kidal and Timbuktu regions, with first mixed unit arriving in Kidal city 13 Feb. Small protest broke out same day in front of military barrack hosting unit, with protestors chanting slogans hostile to state and calling for independence of Azawad. Govt and political parties prepared for legislative elections – first and second round due 29 March and 19 April respectively. Prominent religious leader Imam Dicko 3 Feb said his political movement would not participate in elections as previously announced.
Intercommunal and jihadist violence intensified in centre amid ongoing counter-insurgency operations; France pledged to boost its military presence in Sahel from 4,500 troops to 5,100. In Mopti region in centre, suspected Dogon militiamen 16 Jan attacked Fulani village of Sinda, killing at least fourteen; explosive device 21 Jan killed two soldiers on Boni-Douentza axis; unidentified assailants 22-23 Jan killed six soldiers in Dioungani area. In Ségou region in centre, jihadist coalition Group to Support Islam and Muslims claimed attack against Sokolo military camp that killed twenty soldiers 26 Jan; 29 Jan reportedly captured Sokolo village. French forces continued counter-insurgency operations, notably killing thirty suspected members of jihadist group Katiba Macina south of Mopti 14-15 Jan. Also in centre, protesters demonstrated against UN mission (MINUSMA) in Koro, Bankass, and Bandiagara early Jan. Signatories to 2015 Algiers peace agreement took steps to pacify relations in north east. Delegations from ex-rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements and Platform coalition of pro-govt armed groups held talks in Ménaka 7-8 Jan, signed agreement on security arrangements to prevent confrontation between their respective local factions, committed to join forces against banditry in Ménaka region. Following Dec national inclusive dialogue, govt 11 Jan held meeting with political parties and signatory armed groups to discuss conditions for organising legislative elections before May. Movement of sympathisers of prominent Muslim leader Mahmoud Dicko 15 Jan said it would present list of candidates. Despite 10 Jan protest in capital Bamako against French military presence, President Keïta met with other G5 Sahel heads of state and French President Macron in Pau, France, 13 Jan, agreed to step up military cooperation with France to counter jihadist threat in Sahel; Macron same day pledged additional 220 troops to French Barkhane operation. French govt early Feb said it would deploy 400 more soldiers to focus on border area between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. PM Cissé 29 Jan pledged to increase size of armed forces by 50% in 2020.
Violence continued in Mopti region in centre albeit at lower level and major opposition parties boycotted final phase of national inclusive dialogue. In centre, suspected Fulani militiamen and jihadists and ethnic Dogon continued to attack each other in Bandiagara and Koro districts, causing deaths of at least eight people 5-12 Dec. After President Keïta urged security forces in Nov to adopt offensive strategy, army and French forces stepped up operations against jihadists in Mopti region, especially Bandiagara district. Notably, army 5 Dec destroyed jihadist base near Ouo and Mandoli villages and 6 Dec killed five jihadists near Bara Sara. French forces 21 Dec killed 40 suspected members of jihadist group Katiba Macina in Ouagadou forest, Mopti region. In Bamako, final phase of national inclusive dialogue that started in Oct took place 14-22 Dec; delegates from country’s ten regions drew up four key resolutions including organising legislative elections before May 2020 and holding referendum on constitutional revision. But Anw Ko Mali Dron, coalition of major opposition parties and civil society groups, 10 Dec reiterated its refusal to take part, denouncing govt’s ban on discussion of certain topics, notably Algiers peace agreement. In north, leaders of ex-rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) continued to strengthen group’s cohesion by holding popular congresses. By contrast, divisions deepened within Platform coalition of pro-govt armed groups: one faction boycotted congress of coalition member Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA) in Aguelhoc early Dec and instead attended congress of ex-separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) in Kidal 30 Nov-3 Dec where it called for merger with CMA.
Jihadists intensified large-scale attacks on military inflicting heavy losses and fuelling further protests against govt and foreign forces, while intercommunal violence continued in centre. Militants of jihadist group Islamic State in the Greater Sahara 1 Nov attacked military base at Indelimane, Ménaka region near border with Niger in east, killing 54 soldiers; 18 Nov ambushed military patrol near Tabankort, Ménaka region, killing 43 soldiers. Suspected militants of jihadist group Katiba Macina 2 Nov attacked military convoy near Douvombo village in Bandiagara area, Mopti region in centre, killing two soldiers. In fear of further attacks, military evacuated three isolated posts near Niger border at Indelimane and Anderamboukane in Ménaka region, and Labbezanga in Gao region. Hundreds, including widows of fallen soldiers, 8 and 15 Nov protested in capital Bamako demanding greater support for army, denouncing French operation Barkhane and UN mission (MINUSMA), and calling on Russia to intervene. In address to nation 4 Nov, President Keïta said army would shift from defensive to offensive strategy. Govt 11 Nov said military operation in centre had killed several jihadists. Joint military operation Bourgou IV, conducted by troops from G5 Sahel joint force, Mali and Burkina Faso supported by French forces, 1-17 Nov killed or arrested 24 suspected jihadists in Mali and Burkina Faso. France 6 Nov said it and other European countries were preparing joint military operation called Takouba to train local forces and engage jihadists in combat. U.S. 8 Nov added leader of Katiba Macina Amadou Koufa to its terrorist list. Two French helicopters collided and crashed near Niger and Burkina Faso borders 25 Nov killing thirteen French soldiers. In centre, intercommunal violence continued. Dogon militiamen 13 Nov attacked Fulani village of Pé, killing at least twenty civilians. Jihadists 9 Nov chased out inhabitants of Dogon villages of Deguembere and Golo in Bandiagara area.
Protests against govt and international forces erupted in several cities, while suspected jihadist attacks continued in north and centre and intercommunal violence persisted in centre. Suspected jihadists 30 Sept struck bases of regional military force G5 Sahel in Mondoro and Boulikessi, Mopti region in centre; govt said 38 soldiers killed and dozens missing, and fifteen assailants killed. G5 Sahel 30 Sept blamed jihadist group Ansarul Islam, but jihadist coalition Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 6 Oct claimed attacks, saying it had killed 85 soldiers and abducted others. In early Oct, protesters demonstrated in capital Bamako, Sévaré in Mopti region, and Kayes in west, denouncing military’s lack of equipment and poor living conditions and demanding departure of foreign forces, in particular French and UN mission (MINUSMA). Protesters 12 Oct looted MINUSMA warehouse in Sévaré. Suspected jihadists continued attacks in north and centre. In Kidal region in north, MINUSMA vehicle 6 Oct detonated explosives near Aguelhoc, UN peacekeeper killed, and unidentified assailants 18 Oct attacked pro-govt armed groups in Aguelhok, killing six. In Gao region in north, suspected jihadists 23 Oct killed five members of Ganda Izo militia in Tassiga; unidentified gunmen 22 Oct clashed with pro-govt armed groups in Doro, at least fifteen killed including four civilians. In Mopti region in centre, unidentified gunmen 6 Oct attacked UN peacekeepers near Bandiagara, wounding one; 23 Oct killed gendarme in Douentza. French forces 17 Oct killed eight suspected members of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara in Liptako area in south east. Unidentified gunmen killed police officer and civilian in Ménaka city in east 24 Oct. Communal violence continued in centre. Suspected members of Dogon militia Dan Na Ambassagou 7 Oct attacked Fulani civilians near Petaka in Douentza circle, Mopti region, killing three. Suspected Fulani gunmen 6 Oct attacked Sogou and Berda in Koro circle, Mopti region, one Dogon killed.
Violence surged in centre as jihadist group’s and army’s attacks against Dogon militia fuelled intercommunal conflict, and insecurity persisted in north. In Mopti region in centre, Dogon militia Dan Na Ambassagou 2 Sept attacked Fulani village of Ouro Fero, Bandiagara district killing one. Following pledge to protect Fulani, jihadist group Katiba Macina 3 Sept killed 27 Dan Na Ambassagou militiamen near Ouro Fero. Security forces continued attacks against Dan Na Ambassagou, outlawed in March, notably conducting 5 Sept airstrike on base in Bandiougou, Bandiagara district. Suspected Fulani militiamen 9 Sept ambushed vehicle between Simekanda and Parou, Bandiagara district killing six Dogon. Dogon militiamen 16-18 Sept set up checkpoints in Bandiagara city, arresting and chasing out Fulanis, reportedly killing two. Dogon youth groups demonstrated in support of Dan Na Ambassagou and against govt in Bandiagara city 9 Sept and capital Bamako 13 Sept. Protesters accusing police commissioner of abuses 19 Sept burned police station in Niono, Ségou region in centre and killed commissioner, one protester killed. Explosive device 26 Sept killed seven soldiers on Douentza-Sévaré axis. In north, civil society and youth groups protested early Sept in Timbuktu and Gao calling on govt to build roads and address insecurity, 7-10 Sept blocked access to Timbuktu airport. Intercommunal clashes in Timbuktu city 19 Sept killed three, including two children. Over 1,000 disarmed and demobilised former combatants of Mécanisme opérationnel de coordination (MOC) integrated into army 4 Sept, but unidentified gunmen 5 Sept kidnapped at least 22 of them as they travelled to their posts in Gao region. Govt cancelled meeting of 2015 peace accord follow-up committee (CSA) initially planned for 17 Sept in Kidal after Nigerien President Issoufou accused some signatory armed groups of collusion with jihadists. In reaction, ex-rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements suspended participation in CSA. Preparations for national dialogue continued, but opposition parties threatened to boycott over lack of inclusivity.
Violence in centre fell as local peace initiatives proliferated, but jihadist groups and militias continued to attack civilians and military in centre and north. PM Cissé continued initiatives to end violence in centre; 3 Aug oversaw signing of peace agreement between Fulani and Dogon militias in Macina circle, Ségou region. Several other villages organised dialogues and reached peace agreements with help of govt and civil society. Notably, thanks to mediation of civil society group Faso Dambe Ton, jihadist group Katiba Macina early Aug agreed to lift siege on Toguere Coumbé in Tenenkou circle, Mopti region. Fulani, Dogon and Dafing militias in Ouenkoro in Bankass circle, Mopti region, 16 Aug signed peace agreement following mediation by Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. In Mopti region in centre, two army trucks detonated mine on Diougani-Dinangourou road in Koro circle 5 Aug, leaving two soldiers and one civilian dead; jihadist Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) claimed ambush on Hombori-Boni road 21 Aug that left five soldiers dead. Also in Mopti region, unidentified gunmen 23 Aug reportedly attacked Tagari Dogon in Koro circle, killing two civilians. In Ségou region in centre, unidentified gunmen 6 Aug killed one gendarme in ambush. In north, International Committee of the Red Cross 6 Aug said it would temporarily suspend its operations in Tombouctou area due to growing insecurity. Commission organising national political dialogue continued consultations with civil society, political parties and religious leaders, but UN panel of experts 7 Aug warned dialogue could delay further implementation of 2015 Algiers accord. Sympathisers of prominent Muslim leader Mahmoud Dicko 1 Aug announced creation of new movement to influence religious and political life. UN Security Council 29 Aug renewed until 31 Aug 2020 sanctions regime against individuals and entities derailing peace process.
Communal and jihadist violence continued in centre despite intensification of military operations and mediation initiatives, and insecurity persisted in north. In Mopti region in centre, suspected ethnic Dogon militants 30 June attacked Fulani villages of Bidi and Saran in Bankass circle, killing 23. Explosion same day between Guiri and Yoro in Koro circle killed eleven Fulanis. Security forces stepped up operations against Dogon militias in Bandiagara circle, near Mopti, destroying check points and seizing weapons. Security forces 10 July bombed camp of Dogon militia Dan Na Ambassagou in Wadouba, no casualties reported; group same day condemned attack and called for govt to cooperate with it. Security forces 11 July disarmed Dogon militants near Diombolo Kanda, seizing 28 hunting rifles. Govt and civil society launched several peace initiatives. Dan Na Ambassagou and Fulani-dominated militia in Mopti signed peace agreement 1 July. Civil society group Faso Dambe Ton late June mediated dialogue between Dogon militias and jihadist group Katiba Macina; latter listed conditions for peace, including that Dogon militias stop collaborating with security forces, refer all legal cases to religious courts, and stop attacking Fulani civilians. In north, crime and jihadist violence continued in Gao, Menaka and on main roads. Notably, unidentified assailants 5 July reportedly killed eight people in Talataye, Ansongo circle and 17 July ambushed military convoy between Fafa and Bentia, killing one soldier; French airstrike same day killed nine people suspected of carrying out attack. Suicide car bombing on base of international forces in Gao 22 July injured at least five soldiers; jihadist Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 25 July claimed responsibility. Armed group Movement for the Salvation of Azawad, formerly affiliated with ex-rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements, 12 July said it had joined pro-govt Platform coalition. UN Security Council 10 July sanctioned five additional people for obstructing implementation of peace accord. UK 22 July said it would contribute 250 troops to MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in 2020.
Ethnic militia carried out large-scale attacks in centre leaving at least 73 dead and raising risk of reprisals in July, and insecurity persisted in north. In Bandiagara circle, Mopti region, suspected Fulani gunmen 9 June attacked Dogon village of Sobane Da, killing between 35 and 95, and 17 June attacked Dogon villages of Gangafani and Yoro, killing at least 38. Dogon militiamen (Dozos) said Sobane attack was “declaration of war”. President Keïta and PM Cissé 11-12 June visited Sobane and promised strong measures, including immediate disarmament of all armed individuals. Keïta 20 June announced appointment of Dioncounda Traoré as High Representative for Central Mali to spearhead efforts to halt attacks. Unidentified assailants 23-24 June killed eight civilians in different attacks in Koro and Douentza circles, Mopti region and Macina circle, Ségou region. In north, violence increased in Ansongo circle, Gao region: unidentified assailants 3 June reportedly raped thirteen women and six girls in Gariya; attack in ethnic Daousak village of Amalaoulou 5 June killed seven. In joint military operation on Niger-Mali border 7-19 June, Malian and French forces killed twenty suspected jihadist militants in Akabar area. Govt 12 June asked for more UN peacekeepers to help protect civilians in centre; UN Security Council 27 June renewed UN mission (MINUSMA)’s mandate for one year, requesting it to respond to deteriorating security in centre in addition to original mandate of stabilising north. Some UN Security Council members, including U.S., urged parties that signed 2015 Algiers peace agreement to step up implementation. As part of govt efforts to implement deal, over 200 disarmed and demobilised former combatants of Mécanisme Opérationnel de Coordination (MOC) arrived in capital Bamako 12 June to start three-month military training before integration into army. National assembly 27 June passed bill proposed by govt to extend MPs’ mandate to 2 May 2020, notably due to insecurity in centre. Opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé 13 June described bill as “illegal”.
Appointment of new broad-based govt divided opposition, while violence continued in centre and north. After consultations with political and religious leaders and civil society, PM Cissé 5 May formed 38-member cabinet, including three opposition members. But major opposition parties Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) and African Solidarity for Democracy and Independence (SADI) refused to join, citing lack of agreement over power-sharing. Railway workers 13 May ended strike after govt agreed to pay wage arrears. Teachers’ union 20 May ended five-month strike after govt agreed to satisfy eight of ten demands. New govt kick-started discussions with several parties over implementation of 2015 peace agreement, continuation of political dialogue and organisation of legislative elections. Insecurity persisted in centre, particularly Gourma area. Suspected jihadists staged ambush near Mondoro 11 May, eighteen reportedly killed, mostly civilians. Suspected jihadists ambushed and killed four soldiers in Diafarabé, Mopti region 16 May. UN mission (MINUSMA)’s 3 May report on Ogossagou massacre that killed at least 160 Fulanis in March pointed to responsibility of Dozos (Dogon militants). Violence also continued in north. Ex-rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements and former ally Movement for the Salvation of Azawad clashed several times 3-12 May in Talataye, Ménaka region over control of districts and key trafficking routes, death toll unknown. MINUSMA vehicle hit explosive device near Tessalit, Kidal region 18 May, three Chadian peacekeepers injured. Unidentified assailants 18 May killed Nigerian peacekeeper in Timbuktu city.
Massacre of ethnic Fulani late March spurred pressure on govt, including mass protests, forcing PM Maïga and cabinet to resign; ethnic violence continued in centre and could escalate in May, as violence and banditry continued in north. Heeding calls of political and religious leaders, tens of thousands protested in capital Bamako and other cities 5 April to denounce govt’s failure to stop violence in centre and demand PM Maïga’s resignation. President Keïta 16 April said govt would increase troops, UN peacekeepers and French Barkhane forces in centre. PM Maïga and cabinet resigned 19 April, hours before parliament was set to vote on no-confidence motion. Keïta 22 April appointed former Minister of Economy and Finance Boubou Cisse as new PM. In centre, massacre of Fulani at Ogossagou late March exacerbated tensions between Fulani and Dogon communities and fuelled support to their respective militias. Dogon self-defence group Dan Na Ambassagou announced withdrawal from Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reinsertion program 8 April citing insecurity. Residents in Koro 13 April prevented arrest of local Dan Na Ambassagou commander. French Barkhane vehicle detonated mine in Foulséré, Mopti region 2 April, one doctor killed. Bombings in centre 1-22 April killed six civilians, five soldiers and one UN peacekeeper. Unidentified gunmen 11 April attacked Tiofoli in Mopti region killing one. Al-Qaeda linked militants 21 April killed at least eleven soldiers in Guire, claiming attack was revenge for Ogossagou massacre. In Mopti region, unidentified gunmen 25 April killed at least fifteen in Bouldé; 27 April attacked military vehicle in Acharane, killing one soldier. In north, unidentified assailants 3 April fired at UN camp in Kidal, injuring two peacekeepers. Two unidentified gunmen night of 5-6 April killed one civilian in Gao region. Unidentified assailants killed local commander of pro-govt armed group Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA) in Talataye, Gao region 7 April. Unidentified gunmen 11 April killed one MSA officer and at least one other in Ménaka region. Army vehicle detonated mine in Ménaka region 18 April, two soldiers killed. Pro-govt armed group Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA) 24 April accused army of arresting and executing three Tuaregs in Gao region. Expert committee on constitutional reform 1 April submitted new draft constitution, which includes creation of senate and permanent electoral commission and substitution of regional council with regional assembly.
Communal violence intensified in centre raising risk of escalation in April, and suspected jihadists carried out more deadly attacks in north and centre, as govt tried to win support for constitutional reform. In centre, violence between ethnic Fulani herders on one side and Dogon and Bambara farmers on other in Mopti region left at least 173 dead: clash in Tan Coulle village 2 March left three Dozos (Dogon militants) dead; Dozos reportedly killed four Fulanis in Wendou village same day; at least 160 killed 23 March in attack reportedly by Dozos against Fulani villages of Ogossagou and Welingara, most deadly attack since crisis erupted in 2012; in suspected revenge attacks, armed assailants 25-26 March attacked two Dogon villages in Bankass circle, reportedly killing at least six. In response to Ogossagou attack, President Keita 24 March replaced army chief of staff and commander of land forces and officially disbanded Dogon self-defence group. Jihadist coalition Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM) 17 March attacked military camp in Dioura, Mopti region in centre, killing 23 soldiers; Keita 22 March blamed lack of military discipline. Attack sparked protests against military and politicians. Protesters 21 March prevented army chief giving his condolences to families in Nioro, Sahel region. Women-led demonstrations 22 March blocked access to military camp in Ségou region in centre. In Timbuktu region in north, unidentified assailants reportedly carried out three attacks against public transport along Timbuktu-Goundam axis 1-3 March, no casualties reported. Religious leaders 10 March and opposition platform Coalition of Patriotic Forces 14 March called on PM Maïga to step down. Govt continued talks with opposition and civil society to build support for constitutional reform process, which seeks to create new regions and restore state authority in north while recognising some groups’ claims for greater autonomy. Community meetings took place in provincial cities to appease tensions or discuss constitutional reform process, including in Mopti 9 March and Gao in north 12 March.
While jihadist and intercommunal violence continued in centre and north, govt and ruling coalition increased consultations with opposition aimed at facilitating reforms and elections scheduled in 2019. In rare move, President Keïta 14 Feb spoke on phone with main opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé; call followed meetings between leaders of ruling coalition Together for Mali (EPM) and opposition coalition Front for the Salvation of Democracy (FSD), including 12 Feb meeting, to discuss constitutional revision, electoral and redistricting reforms, and legislative and district elections in 2019. Two prominent Muslim leaders, president of High Islamic Council Mahmoud Dicko and Chérif of Nioro Bouyé Haidara, 10 Feb held rally of estimated 60,000 people in capital Bamako to denounce govt’s mishandling of violence in centre; protesters demanded PM Maïga resign. In centre, French Barkhane airstrike in Dialloubé, Mopti region 13 Feb killed around ten suspected jihadists and allowed armed forces to free two NGO workers. Barkhane and Malian forces 23 Feb killed fifteen suspected members of Islamist group Katiba Macina near Dialloubé. Former prefect of Ténenkou, Mopti region, abducted in May 2018 by Katiba Macina jihadists, freed 18 Feb in unclear circumstances. Unidentified assailants 26 Feb killed man in Diankabou town, Mopti region, and booby-trapped his body, bomb killed seventeen civilians. Suspected Islamist militants 24 Feb attacked Koulikoro military camp outside Bamako where EU training mission is based, security forces repelled assailants, killing several. In north, two factions of pro-national unity Platform coalition clashed in Gao early Feb, four killed. Under pressure from other parts of country and international actors, ex-rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) 18 Feb withdrew regulations on social and political life introduced 30 Jan in Kidal region. In east, army killed mayor of Andéramboukane 4 Feb in Ménaka region, allegedly after his vehicle refused to stop at checkpoint. Govt and armed groups took small steps to implement Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) element of 2015 Algiers Peace Agreement; govt 6 Feb said 5,000 combatants in centre had registered for DDR, and 600 demobilised combatants and eighteen high-ranking rebel officers had been selected to join security forces. Army 11 Feb said 420 officers who deserted during or after 2012 crisis had accepted to rejoin army, as provided for in peace deal.
Ethnic violence continued in centre raising pressure on govt to act, military and French forces pursued counter-terror operations in centre and ethnic violence continued in east. In centre, suspected Dogon militiamen (Dozos) 1 Jan stormed Koulogon village in Mopti region, killing 37 Fulani civilians they accused of supporting jihadist militants. President Keïta 4 Jan visited Koulogon and said crime would be punished. MPs 7 Jan urged PM Maïga to take action to stop conflict. France 2 Jan pressed govt to “take strong action” to stop violence. Fulani activists accused Dozos of genocide against Fulanis, while some in govt accused Fulani activists of not doing enough “to demarcate” themselves from jihadists. Also in centre, unidentified gunmen 18 Jan attacked Djéri village in Mopti region, two villagers reportedly killed including local imam. Roadside bomb 25 Jan killed two Sri Lankan peacekeepers and injured six others near Douentza, Mopti region. French and Malian forces continued counter-terror operations in Mopti region, killing about twenty suspected jihadists and arresting five 4-9 Jan in Serma forest; killing fifteen suspected jihadists 10 Jan in Dialloubé. Unidentified assailants 21 Jan attacked Toye, Ségou region in centre, killing one; govt said thirteen assailants also killed. Roadside bomb 28 Jan killed gendarme and injured two others in Toyé, Ségou region. In north, attack on camp of UN mission (MINUSMA) in Aguelhoc, Kidal region 20 Jan claimed by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) left ten Chadian peacekeepers dead and 25 others wounded. Unidentified assailants 29 Jan attacked military base in Tarkint, Gao region in north, two soldiers killed. In Ménaka region in east, clashes continued between Fulani armed groups close to Islamic State in the Greater Sahara and, on the other side, mainly ethnic Dossaak Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA) and Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA), both allied with French forces. Notably, suspected Fulani militants 15 Jan attacked MSA post, killing at least 34, including many Dossaak civilians. Main workers’ union National Union of Workers of Mali (UNTM)’s nationwide strike 9-11 Jan partially paralysed both public and private sectors.
Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.