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Entries: Mali

July 2022

Africa

Mali

Jihadists extended operations further south from their stronghold in country’s centre, launching bold attacks near capital Bamako; West Africa’s regional bloc lifted economic and financial sanctions; and diplomatic spat erupted with Côte d’Ivoire. Jihadists struck targets just north of Bamako. Suspected al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 14 July attacked Zantiguila security post (Koulikoro region), only 50km from Bamako, killing at least six. JNIM-affiliated Katiba Macina 22 July launched sophisticated attack on Kati military base on outskirts of Bamako, leaving one soldier dead; govt forces repelled raid, killing at least seven assailants. Elsewhere, coordinated jihadist attacks on military targets near towns of Sévaré (Mopti region), Sokolo (Ségou region) and Kalumba (Koulikouro region) 27 July killed at least 15 troops and three civilians; military said 48 militants killed. Meanwhile, 2015 peace agreement signatory group Coordination of Azawad Movements 17 July decried “abandonment” of accord by transitional authorities, promoted “consolidation of unity” between signatory armed groups. After Bamako late June released electoral timetable scheduling presidential election for Feb 2024, West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS 3 July lifted economic and financial sanctions on Mali, only keeping individual and diplomatic sanctions in place; ECOWAS demanded that no member of transitional govt run as presidential candidate in 2024 election, amid persistent concern among Malian actors and outside observers over transitional President Col Goïta’s intentions. Supreme Court prosecutor 28 July issued international arrest warrant for ex-PM Boubou Cissé and several other ministers of deposed President Keïta, in likely attempt to prevent them from running in presidential election. Meanwhile, diplomatic incident soured Bamako’s relations with Côte d’Ivoire and confirmed junta’s reluctance to cooperate with UN mission MINUSMA going forward. Bamako 10 July arrested 49 Ivorian soldiers at Bamako airport, described them as “mercenaries” attempting to enter country without proper authorisation in order to foment unrest. Côte d’Ivoire’s govt 12 July denied claim, said soldiers were part of MINUSMA, and requested their “immediate” release. Bamako 20 July ordered MINUSMA Spokesperson Olivier Salgado to leave country within 72 hours over tweets about incident (see Côte d’Ivoire).

June 2022

Africa

Mali

Rampant jihadist violence and counter-insurgency operations left hundreds killed, mostly in central regions; President Goïta announced two-year transition period before elections. In Bandiagara region (centre), al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM)-linked Katiba Macina 18-19 June killed 132 civilians in multiple attacks in Bankass district; military 11 June killed at least 13 JNIM militants including three commanders in air and ground operation near Makou town. In neighbouring Mopti region, JNIM-led siege of Boni town (Douentza district), which started 25 May, continued throughout month. Further west in Koulikoro region, military 6-8 June killed ten JNIM militants in Banamba district. In northern Gao region, JNIM ambush 2 June left 11 soldiers dead near Doro village, and suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 18 June killed at least 20 civilians in several hamlets of Anchawadj commune (both Gao district). French Barkhane forces 12 June arrested ISGS leader Oumeya Ould Albakaye in Ansongo district of Gao region. Further east in Ménaka region, govt forces joined 2015 peace agreement signatory groups to launch joint offensive to recapture strategic town of Andéramboukane from ISGS; clashes 4-5 June reportedly killed around 115, including 90 jihadists, but town remained under jihadist control. ISGS 12 June killed 22 people, including displaced persons, near Izingaz village (Tidermène district). West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS heads of state 4 June postponed decision on lifting sanctions on Mali to next summit on 3 July. Transitional President Col Goïta 6 June unilaterally set transition’s length at 24 months, starting 26 March 2022; ECOWAS 7 June “regretted” decision, said dialogue would continue. Govt 30 June adopted electoral calendar scheduling constitutional referendum for March 2023 and presidential election for Feb 2024. After UN mission MINUSMA late May accused govt forces of human rights abuses, UN Sec Gen António Guterres 1 June highlighted authorities’ diminishing control over territory and active hindering of MINUSMA activities. UN Security Council 29 June renewed mission’s mandate for another year, called for govt to allow free movement for peacekeepers to investigate human rights abuses; Russia, which campaigned against mission’s rights mandate, abstained.

May 2022

Africa

Mali

Transitional authorities continued to break off ties with traditional allies, negotiations with regional bloc ECOWAS over transition duration remained stalled, and jihadist violence decreased slightly across country. After deteriorating relations with Paris late April took inflammatory turn, govt 2 May withdrew from defence agreements signed with France, including those regulating Barkhane and Takuba forces. Govt 15 May announced withdrawal from regional G5 Sahel organisation, stated other members blocked Bamako from assuming rotating presidency in Feb under pressure from “extra-regional” state. Amid uncertainty over UN mission MINUSMA’s future, including mission’s ability to operate in context of Bamako’s growing hostility and absent Barkhane support, UN Sec Gen António Guterres 6 May called for mission’s mandate renewal in June and Germany 11 May announced increase of its MINUSMA personnel by 300 elements. As negotiations with Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) over transition duration remained stalled, Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé 4 May accepted Bamako’s request to facilitate negotiations with international community, including ECOWAS. Meanwhile, rapprochement with Russia continued. FM Abdoulaye Diop 20 May met in Russia’s capital Moscow with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, who announced further political, economic and security cooperation with Mali. Transitional govt faced domestic discontent. Dozens 10 May demonstrated in capital Bamako against “dictatorial regime”; counter-protest 13 May drew thousands in capital in support of transitional authorities. Influential imam Mahmoud Dicko 26 May criticised interim authorities’ “arrogance”. Govt 16 May said it had foiled coup plot night of 11-12 May, blamed Western-supported military personnel; next day arrested several military officers, including at least one colonel. Violence slightly decreased across country. Army 9 May announced recent operations in Mopti, Koulikoro, Ségou and Sikasso regions killed at least 56 jihadists; mid-month reported killing dozens of suspected al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) and JNIM-affiliated Ansarul Islam militants in Mopti’s Douentza district. Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 14 May killed five members of 2015 Algiers peace agreement signatory group Imghad Tuareg Self-Defence Group and Allies (GATIA) in Anchawadi commune (Gao region). Unidentified assailants 19 May abducted three Italians and a Togolese in Sincina locality (Sikasso region in south).

April 2022

Africa

Mali

Jihadist violence persisted in Mopti region amid national and international outcry over alleged “massacre” of hundreds of civilians at hands of govt and Russian forces; EU suspended in-country training missions. Army 1 April said military 23-31 March “neutralised” over 200 jihadists in major operation in Moura town (Djenné district) in central Mopti region. Several media and rights groups however accused govt forces and allies of “massacre”. Notably, NGO Human Rights Watch 5 April said army and foreign fighters, identified as Russians, late March “allegedly summarily executed” 300 civilian men in Moura town, urged “independent, credible inquiry”. UN envoy in Mali El-Ghassim Wane 7 April told Security Council military govt had denied request to grant UN mission investigators access to site; Bamako same day announced military tribunal would handle investigation. Meanwhile, violence continued in Mopti. Notably, explosive device attack by suspected al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 19 April killed Russian paramilitary near Hombori village (Douentza district); in apparent retaliation, govt forces and Russian private military company Wagner Group elements same day reportedly stormed Hombori. Armed forces reported air strikes 14 April killed 12 militants, including Franco-Tunisian JNIM leader Samir Al-Bourhan, in Ganguel forest, and overnight 27-28 April killed 12 other combatants near Yirma village, both Djenné district. Simultaneous jihadist attacks 24 April also targeted military camps in Sévaré (Mopti region), Bapho and Niono towns (Ségou region), leaving six soldiers dead. JNIM 24 April claimed it had captured Wagner operatives during first week of April in central Ségou region. Junta continued to take increasingly harsh line on political opposition: authorities 4 April allegedly sought to arrest opposition leader Oumar Mariko after he publicly accused army of killing civilians in Moura. Amid rumours of govt reshuffle and internal conflicts within PM Choguel Maïga’s support base, Maïga 21 April presented transitional govt’s activities to legislative body National Transitional Council, emphasised 24-month transition timeline and praised army’s recent advances. Thousands 1 April demonstrated in capital Bamako against French presence and West African bloc ECOWAS’ sanctions. Following year-long tensions between Bamako and Brussels, EU 11 April announced full suspension of EUCAP and EUTM missions in Mali.

March 2022

Africa

Mali

Violent clashes opposed jihadists and 2015 peace agreement signatory groups in north east, reportedly leaving hundreds dead; military suffered deadliest jihadist attack in months. In north east near border with Niger, fighting resumed between Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) and 2015 peace agreement signatory groups – Movement for the Salvation of Azawad, and Tuareg Imghad and Allied Self-Defence Group – in Tamalat, Inchinane and Anderamboukane (Ménaka region) and Talataye (Gao region) areas; violence throughout month reportedly killed hundreds including civilians. In Mopti region (centre), suspected jihadist group 4 March launched deadliest attack on military in months, killing at least 27 soldiers at army base in Mondoro town near Burkina Faso’s border; army said troops killed 70 militants in response. UN mission (MINUSMA) convoy 7 March detonated explosive device north of Mopti city; two peacekeepers killed. Alleged ISGS militants 21 March launched twin attacks on military in Tessit (Gao region) and Boni (Mopti region) towns; army reported 16 soldiers and 13 assailants killed. Meanwhile, authorities faced new allegations of extrajudicial killings. Residents of Ségou region (centre) 3 March discovered at least 35 bodies, including some with holes in their heads, near Diabaly town; UN mission 4 March launched investigation into killings; army next day denied allegations of involvement. NGO Human Rights Watch 15 March alleged govt forces had killed at least 71 civilians in central and south-western Mali since Dec, condemned “new wave of executions of civilians” and urged independent inquiries. UN expert on Mali 29 March also raised concerns at UN Human Rights Council about “serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law” attributed to Malian forces. In unprecedented clampdown on foreign media, govt 17 March suspended broadcasts by French news outlets RFI and France24, accusing them of relaying false allegations of army exactions. West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS’s envoy for Mali, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, 18-20 March travelled to capital Bamako to discuss return to constitutional order with transition authorities; Interim President Goïta reportedly proposed 24-month timetable; ECOWAS 25 March upheld sanctions on Mali and asked transition authorities to stage elections within 12-16 months.

February 2022

Africa

Mali

France and European partners announced troop withdrawal amid heightened tensions with Bamako, while jihadist violence persisted. France and allied European countries 17 Feb announced full withdrawal of French Barkhane and European Takuba forces from Mali within six months. Transitional authorities next day denounced “unilateral” decision in breach of bilateral agreements, asked France and European countries to pull out forces “without delay”; French President Macron immediately rejected request, demanded “respect”, saying “France has been, equipping, training” Malian army for nine years. Transition’s trajectory stoked domestic tensions. Main political and civil society umbrella group Cadre d’échange des partis politiques pour une transition réussie 9 Feb announced it would no longer recognise transitional authorities beyond 25 March – end of initially agreed 18-month transition; coalition also warned it would reject transition charter’s revision. Legislative body National Transitional Council 21 Feb however approved amendment to transition’s charter extending transition period for up to five years. Meanwhile, EU 4 Feb imposed travel bans and asset freezes on five prominent members of transitional govt including PM Choguel Maïga. West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS delegation 25 Feb left Bamako after inconclusive talks with military junta over transition’s duration. Violence continued notably in Gao region’s Ansongo district; joint operation between Takuba task force and Malian army 1-6 Feb reportedly killed 30 Islamist militants in Indelimane area; Takuba 9-13 Feb also killed eight suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) combatants in Inchakamak area; Malian army 18 Feb said it had killed 57 jihadists and lost eight soldiers in Tessit area. Meanwhile, ISGS militants 13-15 Feb killed about 40 civilians in several villages of Ansongo district. Amid recent influx of ISGS fighters from neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso, clashes continued between al-Qaeda-linked Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) and ISGS. Notably, fighting 5-6 Feb left at least ten ISGS combatants dead in Ansongo district. Amid ongoing accusations of army abuses against civilians, reports emerged of army airstrike killing 13 civilians in Ségou region’s Niono district 7 Feb.

January 2022

Africa

Mali

Regional bloc ECOWAS imposed new economic sanctions after interim authorities announced five-year transition; Russian mercenaries reportedly deployed across country. Interim authorities 1 Jan presented five-year transition timeline to West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS; revised timeline includes constitutional referendum in Jan 2024, legislative elections in Nov 2025 and presidential elections by Dec 2026. Coalition of 100 political parties and 60 civil society groups next day condemned “attempt to confiscate power by force and trickery” and called on military to respect Sept 2020 transition charter. ECOWAS 9 Jan imposed sweeping economic sanctions and announced closure of borders between ECOWAS member states and Mali. China and Russia 11 Jan at UN Security Council blocked French-drafted statement endorsing sanctions. Tens of thousands 14 Jan protested across country in support of junta, chanting anti-ECOWAS and anti-French slogans. On state TV, PM Choguel Maïga next day strongly condemned sanctions but stressed authorities keen to pursue dialogue with ECOWAS. Junta 26 Jan called on Denmark to immediately withdraw its troops from European Task Force Takuba, saying country lacked permission to deploy its 90 soldiers; Denmark next day denied claim but confirmed it would pull out troops. After French FM Le Drian 28 Jan said junta was “out of control”, Bamako 31 Jan gave French ambassador 72 hours to leave country. Meanwhile, reports of deployment of operatives from Russian private military company Wagner Group kept emerging. French newspaper Le Monde 6 Jan and head of U.S. Africa Command Gen Stephen Townsend 20 Jan alleged presence, notably in central regions, of hundreds of Russian mercenaries. Violence continued in Mopti region (centre), where clashes between army, reportedly joined by Wagner operatives, and al-Qaeda-linked Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims-affiliated Katiba Macina 3 Jan reportedly left several militants and soldiers killed and one Wagner element injured in Bandiagara area. Mortar attack 22 Jan killed French soldier in Gao region (north east). Soldiers faced accusations of exactions in southern Koulikoro region’s Nara district, including killing between 18 and 31 ethnic Fulani and Soninke civilians in Boudjiguire village 31 Dec and another two people in neighbouring Guiré village 3 Jan.

December 2021

Africa

Mali

Interim authorities launched national consultations despite widespread contestation; high-level violence persisted in central Mopti region. Authorities 11 Dec started series of consultations on political, institutional and governance reforms at local and regional levels, and 27-30 Dec at national level; many opposition parties and civil society groups refused to join initiative, citing fears junta could use it to extend transition period; Permanent Strategic Framework gathering armed group signatories to 2015 Algiers Peace Agreement 10 Dec also said they would boycott process on account of lack of preliminary consultations. West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS 12 Dec threatened new sanctions in Jan should interim authorities fail to show concrete actions by month’s end to organise elections in Feb. At end of consultations, participants 30 Dec proposed to extend transition for period of “six months to five years”. Junta continued clampdown on critics; notably, authorities 6 Dec arrested opposition party leader Oumar Mariko for allegedly insulting interim PM Choguel Maïga. NGO Human Rights Watch 15 Dec claimed security agents in Sept-Oct 2021 tortured six individuals accused of plotting coup against interim govt. In Mopti region (centre), suspected al-Qaeda-linked Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM)-affiliated Katiba Macina 3 Dec ambushed public bus near Songho village, killing 32 civilians; clashes between Katiba Macina militants and ethnic Dogon militia Dana Ambassagou 7 Dec left ten militiamen dead near Baima village; explosive device next day killed seven UN peacekeepers in Bandiagara area. Civil disobedience movement urging govt to step up efforts against jihadists 7-8 Dec paralysed public services in Mopti’s Bandiagara city. In Gao region (north), unidentified gunmen 3 Dec attacked UN mission (MINUSMA) convoy 100km north east of Bourem town, killing civilian; overnight 5-6 Dec killed seven members of High Council for Azawad Unity in Intahaka village. EU 13 Dec imposed sanctions on Russian private military company Wagner Group for allegedly committing serious human rights abuses in several countries, including torture and extrajudicial executions. Fourteen European countries and Canada 23 Dec jointly condemned alleged deployment of Wagner mercenaries to Mali, accused Russia of supporting it; Bamako next day denied claims.

November 2021

Africa

Mali

West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS sanctioned transition officials over delayed elections; jihadist violence continued in centre and north. ECOWAS 7 Nov imposed sanctions including travel bans and asset freezes on 149 state officials, after interim President Assimi Goïta day before confirmed Feb 2022 election deadline would not be met; sanctioned individuals include PM Choguel Maïga, several ministers and all members of interim legislative body, but ECOWAS spared Goïta and FM Abdoulaye Diop in apparent attempt to keep communication line open. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell 15 Nov said EU member states had agreed on imposing sanctions on “those obstructing” Mali’s transition. Tensions also increased between interim govt and opposition over duration of transition. Parti pour la renaissance nationale (PARENA) 4 Nov urged authorities to cancel series of consultations on political and institutional reforms, initially scheduled for 20-26 Dec, amid concern junta might use them to extend transition period; govt 23 Nov postponed consultations, citing need to find “broadest possible consensus”, and Goïta 29 Nov received political party leaders, urged them to participate. Authorities 5 Nov announced arrest in recent months of six people for allegedly plotting coup, including two who served under deposed President Bah N’Daw; series of arrests could signal radicalisation of interim authorities. Meanwhile, security situation remained precarious in Gao region (north); notably, clashes 4-5 Nov erupted between Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) and al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) in Ansongo district, leaving at least ten ISGS and five JNIM combatants dead. In Mopti region (centre), JNIM 6 Nov ambushed special forces in Djenné district, killing at least one soldier. Also in Mopti, unidentified gunmen 24 Nov killed at least three civilians in Bandiagara town. In Ségou region (centre), JNIM militants 8 Nov ambushed and killed seven Bambara communal “Donso” militiamen in Ségou district. In Koulikoro region (west), suspected jihadists 14 Nov attacked Guiré army post, reportedly killing seven soldiers. Meanwhile, FM Diop 10-12 Nov visited Russia at invitation of Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov; leaders pledged to intensify military cooperation but denied deployment in Mali of Russian private military company Wagner Group.

October 2021

Africa

Mali

Jihadist violence escalated further, notably in centre, with dozens of “Donso” militiamen killed; tensions ran high with international partners including over transition roadmap. In Mopti region, al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 6 Oct killed at least 16 soldiers in complex ambush involving explosive device in Bandiagara district; military claimed at least 15 militants also killed. JNIM militants and Bambara “Donso” militiamen 20 Oct clashed in Mopti’s Djenné district; at least 50 Donsos reportedly killed, 80 wounded and one captured. In neighbouring Ségou region, JNIM-affiliated Katiba Macina 6 Oct clashed with Donsos in Niono district, allegedly killing at least 28. Suspected jihadists also kept up attacks in northern regions. Notably, explosive device 2 Oct killed UN peacekeeper in Kidal region’s Tessalit district. Unidentified gunmen 6 Oct killed two civilians in Diré district, Timbuktu region. Presumed Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 14 Oct killed two police and one civilian in Ansongo district, Gao region. Govt and French forces also accused of abuses against civilians. In Mopti’s Djenné district, military 5 Oct reportedly killed at least three ethnic Fulanis and tortured local imam; French Operation Barkhane 18 Oct allegedly killed unarmed woman in Timbuktu’s Gossi area. Meanwhile, French troops in coordination with U.S. and Malian forces 7 Oct killed JNIM-affiliated Ansarul Islam commander Oumarou Mobo Modhi in Mopti region. Barkhane airstrike 16 Oct killed JNIM-linked jihadist group Katiba Serma leader Nasser al-Tergui at border between Timbuktu and Mopti regions. During visit to Bamako, chair of regional body ECOWAS, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, 17 Oct urged interim President Goïta to uphold junta’s commitment to hold elections by Feb 2022. Interim authorities 24 Oct however said they would confirm election date after national consultations in Dec, and next day expelled ECOWAS envoy over “actions incompatible with his status”. Relations with France continued to deteriorate. Bamako 5 Oct summoned French ambassador to Mali to express “indignation and disapproval” after French President Macron earlier same day said French army will not “fill in for the non-work…of the Malian state”.

September 2021

Africa

Mali

West Africa regional bloc imposed sanctions to encourage return to civilian rule, but PM said general elections could be delayed; reports of Russian mercenary deal alarmed France, while security situation remained fragile. Economic Community of West African States 7 Sept denounced “lack of concrete actions” to prepare presidential and legislative elections set for Feb 2022 and 16 Sept imposed sanctions on those slowing down transition. PM Choguel Maïga 26 Sept stated potential need to postpone polls to avoid their validity being contested. News agency Reuters 13 Sept revealed authorities close to striking deal with Russian private military company Wagner Group to hire at least 1,000 mercenaries. French govt next day said allowing Russian mercenaries into Mali would be “incompatible” with continued French presence. Thousands 22 Sept reportedly marched in capital Bamako in support of Russia deal. After Maïga 25 Sept accused France of “abandoning” country with its June decision to draw down troops, French govt 27 Sept rejected “indecent” accusations. Security situation remained precarious in centre. In Ségou region, presumed Katiba Macina militants, a sub-group of al-Qaeda-linked Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM), 12 Sept ambushed army patrol in Macina district, killing at least five soldiers. Truce agreed in April 2021 between Katiba Macina and Bambara communal “Donso” militias in Ségou’s Niono district continued to unravel; clashes 2 Sept left one Donso dead in Molodo village, while Katiba Macina 4 Sept reportedly stormed Songo village, killing two residents. French President Macron 16 Sept said Barkhane mid-Aug had killed Islamic State in the Greater Sahara leader Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui in tri-border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. In Koulikoro region (west), unidentified gunmen 11 Sept killed two Moroccan nationals in Djidiéni town (Kolokani district). In Sikasso region (south), unidentified gunmen 14 Sept attacked army post in Mahou village (Yorosso district), two soldiers and two assailants killed. Authorities 3 Sept detained Special Forces Commander Oumar Samaké for allegedly repressing protests under former President Keïta; armed police same day protested and obtained release of Samaké, who 6 Sept turned himself in after reportedly obtaining fair trial guarantees.

August 2021

Africa

Mali

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.

July 2021

Africa

Mali

Interim President Goïta survived apparent assassination attempt, while security situation remained fragile in north and centre. Armed individual 20 July reportedly attempted to stab Goïta in capital Bamako; authorities 21 July said they had opened probe into attack, 25 July said main suspect had died in custody; National Commission for Human Rights 26 July called for investigation into his death. Meanwhile, PM Choguel Maïga 8 July said govt would establish single election body ahead of presidential and legislative elections scheduled for Feb 2022; opposition politician Amadou Diallo and others immediately voiced concern that junta may use reform as pretext to prolong transition. Maïga 30 July presented interim govt’s action plan, said he was mindful of “fixed timeline for the transition”. Main signatories of 2015 Algiers Peace Agreement, rival armed groups Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) and Platform coalition 3-5 July gathered in Kidal city (north), vowed to accelerate agreement’s implementation, coordinate and unify efforts to protect northern regions’ populations. Security situation remained fragile in north and centre. In Timbuktu region (north), presumed al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM)-affiliated Katiba Macina 4 July killed four soldiers in ambush near Diartou village (Niafunke district). In Mopti region (centre), suspected Katiba Macina militants 5 July attacked ethnic Dogon militia Dana Ambassagou’s position between Dourou and Yawa villages (Bandiagara district), killing six. In Ségou region (also centre), presumed Katiba Macina militants 3 July killed three ethnic Bambaras in Kourouma Koubé village, jeopardising local truce struck in April with Bambara “Donso” militiamen. In Koulikoro region (west), unidentified gunmen 17 July raided construction site, abducted three Chinese and two Mauritanian nationals. France 2 July announced resumption of joint military operations with Mali, suspended following Goïta’s coup in May. During G5 Sahel summit, French President Macron 9 July detailed reconfiguration of French military presence in Sahel, said he would halve number of soldiers and close three military bases in Mali’s north by early 2022. Civil society actors immediately expressed concern, citing risk of jihadist takeover of key towns. UN Sec-Gen Guterres 15 July called on Security Council to increase UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)’s authorised strength by 2,069.

June 2021

Africa

Mali

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.

May 2021

Africa

Mali

Amid rising social discontent, military junta staged another coup; jihadist violence persisted in north and centre. Following series of strikes paralysing country, PM Ouane 14 May offered resignation to President N’Daw, who immediately reappointed him to form more inclusive cabinet. After interim govt 24 May appointed new cabinet ministers, military junta immediately arrested N’Daw and Ouane. Colonel Assimi Goïta, transition’s VP, next day announced that N’Daw and Ouane had violated transition’s charter by appointing new cabinet without consulting him and would be stripped of their powers; N’Daw and Ouane next day resigned. Goïta 27 May declared himself country’s transitional president and authorities released N’Daw and Ouane; Constitutional Court next day declared Goïta as interim president. Mali’s main international partners, including regional bloc ECOWAS, AU, EU, France and U.S., condemned junta’s action, while France and U.S. said they would consider sanctions; UN Security Council 26 May unanimously issued condemnation but stopped short of referring to “coup d’état” or including coercive measures; ECOWAS 30 May suspended Mali’s membership but did not impose new sanctions as it did after last year’s coup, instead called for civilian PM, respect of transition’s deadline and formation of inclusive govt. Meanwhile, in north, suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 2 May amputated hands and feet of three alleged robbers in Ansongo district, Gao region, nearly first time jihadists used such punishment since 2012 to apply Sharia law; move apparently aimed at bolstering group’s legitimacy as effective security alternative to state authorities. Few days later, al-Qaeda-linked Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 5 May released video of French journalist kidnapped 8 April near Gao city, urging French authorities to secure his release. In Kidal region (north), truck carrying gold miners 8 May struck IED near Tessalit district, killing two; truck 19 May struck IED on road to Ntillit village, Gao district, killing 16. In Mopti region (centre), presumed JNIM-affiliated Katiba Macina militants 4 May attacked Ndobougou and Kounti-Marka villages, Djenné district, killing three. Also in Mopti, Malian army vehicle 7 May struck IED, which JNIM reportedly planted, in Douentza district, killing three soldiers.

April 2021

Africa

Mali

Jihadist violence continued unabated in centre and north, and interim authorities announced electoral calendar. In Mopti region (centre), suspected al-Qaeda-linked Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants 2 and 6 April raided military positions in Diafarabé and Konna towns, leaving at least four soldiers dead and 21 injured; armed forces reportedly killed 22 militants. JNIM-affiliated Katiba Macina and Bambara communal “Donso” militiamen clashed throughout month in Mopti’s Djenné district, leaving dozens dead on both sides. In Ségou region (also centre), Katiba Macina and Donso militia 16 April announced permanent ceasefire in Niono district; deal builds on March temporary ceasefire that ended five-month jihadist siege on Farabougou village and has significantly reduced tensions in Niono. Also in Niono, Malian and French armed forces 26 April launched airstrikes in Alatona area, reportedly killing 26 suspected jihadists.  In Kidal region (north), JNIM 2 April launched sophisticated attack on UN mission (MINUSMA) base in Aguelhok town, Tessalit district, killing four peacekeepers and wounding 16; over 40 assailants also killed; suspected jihadists 25 April launched rocket attack on military base in Tessalit town, wounding three MINUSMA peacekeepers. Meanwhile, Chadian troops deployed since March as part of G5 Sahel force started to engage insurgents in Gao region (also north), killing at least 20 Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants in Fitili and Tin Ajer areas (both Ansongo district) 3-4 April. NGO Human Rights Watch 20 April said Malian soldiers had killed 34 civilians and disappeared at least 16 people during counter-insurgency operations in Mopti region between Oct and March. Unidentified gunmen 13 April shot dead Sidi Brahim Ould Sidati, leader of ex-rebel Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) – signatory to 2015 Algiers peace agreement – in capital Bamako. Interim govt 15 April disclosed electoral agenda in line with transition timeline, scheduling constitutional referendum for Oct, and presidential and parliamentary elections for Feb 2022.

March 2021

Africa

Mali

Jihadists launched deadly attack on govt forces and temporarily lifted months-long siege of Farabougou village in centre, while French forces accused of killing civilians. In Gao region (north), suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 15 March ambushed army patrol near Tessit town, Ansongo district, killing at least 33 in deadliest attack on security forces in months. In Mopti region (centre), suspected al-Qaeda-linked Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 4 March attacked army position in Dinangorou village, Koro district; one soldier and eight militants reportedly killed. Also in Mopti, govt troops 1-3 March allegedly killed six ethnic Fulani civilians in Douentza and Youwarou districts. National reconciliation minister, Col-Maj Ismaël Wagué, 9 March met with Youssouf Toloba, leader of prominent ethnic Dogon self-defence group Dana Ambassagou to discuss intercommunal tensions and fight against jihadists in Mopti region; move comes after group late Feb refused to sign Fulani-Dogon peace agreement in Koro district. In neighbouring Ségou region, JNIM-affiliated Katiba Macina and Bambara communal “Donso” militias 15 March reached ceasefire agreement; jihadists agreed to lift months-long siege of Farabougou village, Niono district, for one month. French Operation Barkhane faced new accusations of killing civilians. Local officials 26 March said Barkhane airstrike previous day had killed at least five civilians in Indelimane area, Gao region; Barkhane immediately denied allegation. UN mission (MINUSMA) investigation 30 March concluded Barkhane airstrike near Bounti village in Mopti region in Jan had killed 19 civilians. Interim legislative body National Transitional Council VP Issa Kaou Djim 6 March called on transition’s VP Colonel Assimi Goïta to contest next presidential election despite transition’s charter barring interim leaders from doing so. Influential cleric Mahmoud Dicko next day criticised interim govt’s handling of transition. Bamako Court of Appeals 2 March dismissed charges of “plot against the state” against five politicians, including former PM Boubou Cissé, arrested in Dec 2020 for allegedly planning to “destabilise” transitional govt; attorney general same day appealed decision to Supreme Court. Mauritanian diplomat El-Ghassim Wane appointed new MINUSMA head 15 March.

February 2021

Africa

Mali

Tensions remained high between interim authorities, on one hand, and opposition and civil society, on the other, while jihadist violence continued in centre. Coalition of opposition and civil society groups (M5-RFP) 4 Feb condemned govt’s alleged “convergence of interests” with previous regime and 1 Feb dissolution of electoral commission (CENI); govt said CENI members’ mandate had come to an end, but M5-RFP feared dissolution may be part of strategy to influence course of 2022 presidential election. Acting PM Moctar Ouane 15 Feb met with political parties to discuss institutional reforms and 2022 elections; 19 Feb unveiled govt’s national action plan, including commitment to press ahead with elections and openness to dialogue with jihadists; National Transitional Council 22 Feb approved plan. In central Mopti region’s Douentza circle, jihadists continued to launch deadly attacks on national and international forces: al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) combatants 3 Feb killed nine soldiers in attack on Boni army base, prompting retaliatory French airstrikes that killed 20 militants; suspected JNIM fighters 10 Feb raided UN mission (MINUSMA) camp near Kerena village, killing one UN peacekeeper and wounding 27 more. Elsewhere in Mopti, suspected jihadists 17-18 Feb killed at least nine people in Bandiagara circle; suspected JNIM combatants 25 Feb attacked Dialloubé military outpost, Mopti circle, and gendarmerie post in Bandiagara circle, killing nine gendarmes, and 28 Feb stormed three Dogon villages in Bandiagara and Bankass circles, killing nine people. In Timbuktu region (north),French drone strike 1 Feb reportedly killed 15 JNIM-affiliated Ansarul Islam combatants in Gourma-Rharous circle. Further east in Kidal region, Algiers peace accord follow-up committee 11 Feb met in Kidal city for first time since 2015; attendees – including ex-rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements and govt representatives – discussed demobilisation and reintegration of former rebels into army. G5 Sahel summit 15-16 Feb held in Chad’s capital N’Djamena; French President Macron announced France would not downsize military forces in Sahel until at least mid-2022, called for “civilian surge” to complement military efforts, and continued to oppose dialogue with jihadist leaders.

January 2021

Africa

Mali

Amid jihadist attacks against military and international forces, French counter-insurgency operation sparked public outcry. Jihadists launched series of deadly attacks on international forces. In Ménaka region (east), roadside bomb planted by suspected al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 2 Jan killed two French soldiers and wounded another in Tabangout area. In Mopti region’s Douentza circle (centre), suicide bomber from JNIM-linked jihadist group Katiba Serma 8 Jan wounded six French troops in Isey village; IED 21 Jan killed three soldiers in Mondoro area; military overnight 23-24 Jan repelled “complex and simultaneous” jihadist attacks on Boulkessi and Mondoro military bases, six soldiers and around 30 assailants killed. In Timbuktu region (north), suspected JNIM or Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 13 Jan ambushed UN mission (MINUSMA) patrol near Bambara-Maoudé town; four peacekeepers killed and five more wounded. Meanwhile, counter-insurgency operations continued. In Mopti’s Douentza circle, French Operation Barkhane-led airstrikes 2 Jan reportedly killed 15 JNIM fighters in Gassa-Douni locality, and French airstrike next day reportedly killed at least 19 people in Bounti village. French military 5 Jan said 3 Jan airstrike targeted jihadists, while local Fulani advocacy group Tabital Pulaaku next day claimed strike killed civilians during wedding ceremony; NGO Human Rights Watch 21 Jan urged Malian and French govts to launch investigation into incident. Protestors 20 Jan took to streets in capital Bamako against France’s military presence in country; security forces fired tear gas to disperse gathering, which authorities had banned citing COVID-19. In Kidal region in north east, delegations of ex-rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements and leaders of pro-govt Platform coalition’s two branches 8 Jan signed agreement establishing joint management of Aguelhok town following tensions between Tuaregs and Arabs in area. West Africa's regional bloc ECOWAS 12 Jan praised establishment of transition’s main organs, called for “credible and transparent elections” in 2022 and dissolution of National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), governing body of military junta which toppled former President Keïta in 2020. Govt 18 Jan disbanded CNSP. 

December 2020

Africa

Mali

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.

November 2020

Africa

Mali

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. 

October 2020

Africa

Mali

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.

September 2020

Africa

Mali

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.

August 2020

Africa

Mali

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.

July 2020

Africa

Mali

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.

June 2020

Africa

Mali

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.

May 2020

Africa

Mali

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.

April 2020

Africa

Mali

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.

March 2020

Africa

Mali

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.

February 2020

Africa

Mali

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.

January 2020

Africa

Mali

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.

December 2019

Africa

Mali

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.

November 2019

Africa

Mali

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.

October 2019

Africa

Mali

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.

September 2019

Africa

Mali

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.

August 2019

Africa

Mali

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.

July 2019

Africa

Mali

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.

June 2019

Africa

Mali

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”.

May 2019

Africa

Mali

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.

April 2019

Africa

Mali

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.

March 2019

Africa

Mali

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.

February 2019

Africa

Mali

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.

January 2019

Africa

Mali

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.

December 2018

Africa

Mali

Intercommunal and jihadist violence continued in centre and Ménaka region in east and govt blocked protests over electoral calendar. In centre, tit-for-tat attacks continued largely by Dogon and Bambara militias, known as Dozo, against Fulani civilians and, less so, by Fulani-dominated jihadist groups against Dogon and Bambara civilians. Army reported one soldier killed in “terrorist” attack near Bankass, Mopti region 5 Dec; Fulani self-defence group said four of its members killed in attack. Arrest of three Dozo accused of murder in Bankass near Burkina Faso border 17 Dec sparked public anger and alleged violence against Fulani. In Ménaka region in east, suspected Fulani combatants affiliated with Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) 12 Dec attacked campsites in Tinabaw, killing 47 Tuareg Daousak. After rumours spread of planned retaliation by Daousak militia, many fled to Niger 16 Dec. After French and Malian authorities late Nov reported killing of Amadou Kouffa, leader of jihadist group Macina Liberation Front, leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) Abdelmalek Droukdel 11 Dec indicated Kouffa was alive. Authorities 6 Dec said they had dismantled jihadist cell in Koutiala town in south near border with Burkina Faso. French airstrike night of 19-20 Dec killed at least five suspected jihadists in south east near Niger border. In capital Bamako, governor 4 Dec banned gatherings in several areas. Security forces 8 and 15 Dec repressed opposition protests in Bamako seeking to denounce bad governance and extension of MPs’ mandate until June 2019 due to postponement of legislative election. Over 50 organisations early Dec denounced govt-proposed Law of National Understanding which is envisaged in 2015 peace agreement, arguing that it would allow impunity. Parliament 13 Dec delayed vote on draft law, requesting additional information from govt.

November 2018

Africa

Mali

Govt launched disarmament and reintegration of combatants in north, as communal conflict and jihadist attacks continued in centre and north. In response to criticisms of govt’s proposed bill to reform administrative divisions (leaked in Oct) – including that it would favour nomadic groups and that govt drafted bill unilaterally – govt held consultations with opposition leaders and conferences throughout country. But main opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé 8 Nov declined PM Maïga’s invitation to discuss reforms, citing President Keïta’s lack of legitimacy, and opponents of draft bill in Gao in north prevented organisation of conference there. As envisaged in 2015 Algiers peace agreement, govt launched Accelerated Disarmament, Demobilisation, Reinsertion and Integration (A-DDR-I) program in Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu 6, 9 and 12 Nov respectively aimed at integrating some 1,600 combatants from various armed groups into security forces. Some of those fighters refused to hand over all weapons citing various issues, including their desire to keep same ranks as they held in armed groups. Jihadists kept up attacks in north and centre as French forces continued strikes targeting leaders. Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist coalition Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM) 9 Nov released video in which Amadou Kouffa, Fulani leader of GSIM member Macina Liberation Front, called on Fulani across West Africa to join jihad, in contrast with past calls addressed to all Muslims. French operation in Gourma area 11-12 Nov killed seven jihadists, including GSIM faction leader al-Mansour Ag Alkassim. Jihadists 12 Nov attacked UN contractors in Gao near UN base, killing three civilians, and suspected jihadists 19 Nov killed Arab officer in mixed army-armed group force in Timbuktu. France 23 Nov said raid by French forces in Mopti region night of 22-23 Nov “put out of action” about 30 jihadist militants, possibly including Kouffa; govt 24 Nov said Kouffa killed. In centre, communal conflict continued. Gunmen 3 Nov attacked five villages in Bankass area reportedly home to ethnic Dogon. Dogon militia Dan Nan Ambassagou 21 Nov said militia, which announced unilateral ceasefire in Oct, had rejected ceasefire with Fulani herders to protect Dogon after several killed by army. Local authorities 22 Nov said about a dozen Fulani herders had been killed in recent days in town of Ouenkoro in Mopti region and accused Dogon hunters.

October 2018

Africa

Mali

Signatories of 2015 Algiers peace agreement recommitted to implement deal, as intercommunal violence and attacks on security forces continued in centre, north and east. Govt and head of UN mission (MINUSMA) 15 Oct signed “pact for peace”, recommended by UN, renewing commitment to accelerated implementation of 2015 deal. Other signatories, former rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) and pro-national unity Platform coalition, committed to pact separately. Draft bill to redraw administrative boundaries – reform included in 2015 deal – leaked 10 Oct, triggering criticism; proposed division of territory into twenty regions instead of current ten and creation of dozens of new local administrative areas (cercles) would seem to favour nomadic communities, particularly Tuareg and Arabs, by giving them more seats in parliament and local councils. In centre, unidentified gunmen 15 Oct attacked Telly village, Mopti region, reportedly targeting ethnic Fulani, at least eleven civilians killed. Military vehicle hit explosive device night of 10-11 Oct between Djoungani and Koro in Mopti region, three soldiers killed. Explosive device 27 Oct injured four UN peacekeepers in Konna, Mopti region. PM Maïga in Mopti city 2 Oct expressed support for dialogue initiatives between ethnic Fulani, Bambara and Dogon communities by NGO Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and urged communal militias to take part. Having declared unilateral ceasefire, ethnic Dogon militia Dan Nan Ambassagou early Oct said it would lay down weapons. Maïga also visited Tenenkou town in centre 13 Oct in show of state authority. In north, explosive device reportedly injured five UN peacekeepers 3 Oct near Kidal city. Unidentified assailants 27 Oct attacked UN base in Ber, Timbuktu region, two UN peacekeepers killed; claimed by jihadist Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 29 Oct. In east, army, French Barkhane force and local allies mainly ethnic Dossaak Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA) and Platform coalition member Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA) continued operations in Mali-Niger-Burkina Faso border area; army supported by Barkhane aircraft 16 Oct destroyed jihadist base in Ndaki, near Burkina Faso border. Landmine reportedly killed civilian 16 Oct near Ménaka. Dozens of opposition parties and associations, including party of main opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé, 6 Oct created new coalition, Front for the Salvation of Democracy (FSD). Constitutional court 16 Oct postponed legislative elections, initially scheduled for Oct, sine die, extending mandate of MPs to June 2019.

September 2018

Africa

Mali

Attacks on civilians and security forces continued in north and east as intercommunal violence persisted in centre. Following his election victory in Aug, President Keïta was sworn in for second five-year term 4 Sept and next day he reappointed PM Maïga. New cabinet of 32 members formed 9 Sept. Supporters of main opposition candidate Soumaïla Cissé continued to organise protests to denounce alleged electoral fraud every Saturday in capital Bamako and other major cities. Govt 13 Sept postponed until Nov legislative elections initially planned for Oct, citing delays in registering candidates. Head of UN mission (MINUSMA) 19 Sept said UN Security Council recommended that signatories to 2015 Algiers peace agreement sign new “pact for peace” committing to speed up implementation. In north, unidentified gunmen 22 Sept killed two traditional chiefs in Kidal city. About forty unidentified gunmen 30 Sept attacked Amalaoulaou village near Ansongo, Gao region, killing at least 22 civilians. Army convoy 30 Sept fell into ambush near Gossi, Timbuktu region in north, at least one soldier killed. In Ménaka region in east, unidentified assailants 4 Sept shelled MINUSMA camp, one peacekeeper wounded. In centre, intercommunal violence continued, particularly in districts of Koro, Bandiagara, Bankass and Douentza. Notably, ethnic Dogon militias 8 Sept stormed ethnic Fulani village in Koro district killing nine residents, reportedly in retaliation for attack on Dogon village by Fulani militia 27 Aug. Unidentified gunmen 25 Sept raided remote Inekar village, 27 Tuareg civilians reportedly killed. Official 28 Sept said headquarters of G5 Sahel joint counter-terrorism force moved to capital Bamako from central town of Sévaré following deadly June bomb attack.

August 2018

Africa

Mali

President Keïta won re-election with 67.17% of votes in second round 12 Aug, vote disrupted by violence especially in centre and north. Main challenger Soumaïla Cissé rejected results and denounced massive govt fraud, but major observation missions, including from European Union and African Union, deemed electoral process “acceptable”. Turnout in second round was low at 34.54%, in part due to jihadist violence. Results of 29 July first round, released 2 Aug, placed Keita first with 41.4%, Cissé second with 17.8%. Three major opposition candidates, including Cissé, appealed to Supreme Court, but court validated results 8 Aug. Suspected jihadist militants disrupted election process before and on voting day 12 Aug. Militants ambushed army convoy transporting voting material on Nampala-Dogofri axis, Ségou region in centre 31 July, at least four soldiers and eight assailants reportedly killed. Security forces 11 Aug arrested in Bamako three members of “commando” group allegedly planning attacks during second round. Suspected jihadists 12 Aug killed polling station president in Arkodia, south west of Timbuktu city in north. In Mopti region in centre, a quarter and two-thirds of voting offices did not open in Mopti and Tenenkou districts respectively. Intercommunal violence continued in centre. Dogon hunters self-defence group clashed with Fulani gunmen, allegedly affiliated to Alliance for the Salvation of the Sahel (ASS), and Fulani civilians. Dogon militiamen reportedly kidnapped and killed at least eleven Fulani civilians near Sofara town in Mopti region 7 Aug. French govt said its forces 26 Aug killed two members of jihadist group Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), including top official Mohamed Ag Almouner, and two civilians.

July 2018

Africa

Mali

Amid rise in violence, especially in centre and north, presidential elections took place 29 July with armed groups preventing voting in some places. Govt said armed attackers forced closure of 644 out of about 23,000 polling stations, about 3%. Before publication of official results, President Keita 30 July claimed to be in lead, same day party of rival Soumaïla Cissé said he had won enough votes to face Keita in run-off. Party of Aliou Diallo 31 July said he had come second and would face Keita in second round. In Timbuktu in north, Arab community protested against insecurity and clashed with security forces 25 July; next day Arabs and Tuaregs clashed with black community. In Mopti region in centre, intercommunal clashes between ethnic Dogon and Fulani self-defence groups continued, seventeen reportedly killed in Somena village 25 July. Situation worsened by alleged abuses and arbitrary executions by govt forces (FAMA). FAMA 9 July burnt 300 motorcycles reportedly belonging to Dogon combatants. Dogon militia “Dan Nan Ambassagou” then breached unilateral ceasefire they had declared 2 July saying it would fight all state representatives ahead of 29 July vote. Suspected jihadist attacks on national, regional and international forces and on civilians continued in several regions. Notable incidents include: in Gao region in north, ambush 1 July targeting French Barkhane convoy near Bourem town, left four civilians dead. Al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Muslims and Islam claimed mortar attack on Aguelhok, Kidal region 29 July causing pause in voting. In centre, explosive device killed three soldiers and separately assailants ambushed govt soldiers killing two, both incidents 11 July in Mopti region; jihadist militants 22 July ambushed army patrol in Soumouni forest in Ségou region, soldier and eleven assailants killed; suspected jihadists 31 July ambushed security patrol in Ségou region, at least four soldiers and eight assailants killed. In Ménaka region in east, armed individuals 15 July killed at least ten civilians in Injagalane village. In Koulikoro region in west, armed individuals 4 July killed two gendarmes.

June 2018

Africa

Mali

Ahead of 29 July presidential election, intercommunal violence continued in centre and suspected jihadist attacks continued in centre and north. In Mopti region in centre, after two more armed groups claiming to be community defence forces emerged in May, Dogon ethnic militia 23 June allegedly killed at least 22 Fulani civilians in attack on Koumaga village. Fulani associations accused army of executing 25 Fulani civilians 13 June in Mopti region, govt opened investigation. UN mission (MINUSMA) 26 June said army had killed twelve civilians 19 May in Boulikessi after unidentified attacker killed soldier. In centre and north, attacks continued on national and international forces and on civilians. In Mopti region, unidentified assailants ambushed army convoy 9 June, killing two soldiers; alleged jihadists same day clashed with army in Boni, three soldiers and thirteen assailants reportedly killed; unidentified gunmen reportedly killed gendarme in Toguéré-Toumbé 18 June; explosive device same day killed four civilians near Dialloubé. Car bombing at headquarters of G5 Sahel force in Sévaré, Mopti region 29 June set off gun battle; two soldiers, one civilian and two attackers killed; al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Muslims and Islam claimed attack. In north, assailants shelled MINUSMA camps in Timbuktu and Kidal regions 2 and 12 June respectively. Counter-insurgency operations continued: in Ménaka region in east, Platform coalition member Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies and mainly ethnic Dossaak Movement for the Salvation of Azawad early June reportedly fought with combatants allegedly linked to Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) in Akabar area, nine ISGS reportedly killed. In Mopti region, army mid-June reportedly killed ten suspected militants in Karakine; following crackdown on suspected jihadists and allegedly allied ethnic militias, govt 19 June said soldiers had been involved in extrajudicial killings. In run-up to presidential vote, security forces 2 June dispersed banned opposition protest, at least 25 people injured. Ruling party and opposition met 7 June and next day another protest held peacefully. 

May 2018

Africa

Mali

Ahead of presidential elections in July, intercommunal violence escalated in Mali-Niger border area and continued in central Mali, while in north signatories to 2015 peace agreement made some progress in implementing deal. In Mali-Niger border area, mainly ethnic Dossaak armed group, Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA), and Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA) – both involved in counter-insurgency operations alongside national forces and supported by French forces – reportedly committed abuses including killings against Fulani groups suspected of supporting jihadists, provoking counter-attacks against Dossaak civilians. At least 150 civilians from Dossaak and Fulani communities reportedly killed in attacks 26 April-26 May. In centre, intercommunal violence persisted in Mopti region: unidentified assailants attacked Bandiagara 7 May causing considerable material damage, and kidnappings and killings reportedly continued. In north, deployment of Operational Mechanism for Coordination (MOC) – mixed military units comprising men from army, ex-rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) and pro-national unity Platform coalition intended to shore up security – began in Kidal 4 May and Timbuktu 24 May. In centre and north, attacks continued on national and international forces and civilians. Bombing killed four children in Mopti region 2 May. GATIA vehicle detonated mine in Gao region 8 May, one fighter killed. Gunmen kidnapped prefect of Ténenkou and his driver in Mopti region 8 May. EU 14 May extended its military training mission in Mali (EUTM) for two years, doubled its budget and expanded it to include training of G5 Sahel Task Force. In lead-up to July elections, coalition of almost 70 parties named President Keïta as its presidential candidate 6 May and he officially declared candidacy 28 May in field of about twenty.

April 2018

Africa

Mali

Despite 28 March signing of new roadmap to implement 2015 peace agreement by govt, ex-rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) and pro-national unity Platform coalition, at 11 April UN Security Council meeting with France, UK and U.S. advised council to impose sanctions on spoilers. Attacks continued to target govt forces (FAMA), international forces and civilians, as counter-insurgency operations continued in north, north east and centre. In north, gunmen 2 April killed FAMA soldier in Timbuktu city. Unidentified assailants 5 April fired shells at UN mission (MINUSMA) camp in Kidal region, killing two peacekeepers. Assailants disguised as UN peacekeepers 14 April attacked MINUSMA and French Barkhane camp in Timbuktu city, killing one peacekeeper, fifteen assailants reportedly killed; jihadist alliance Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM) claimed responsibility. Barkhane had reportedly recently killed alleged weapons expert and trainer for jihadist groups in Timbuktu region, and four other alleged jihadists. French forces said they had killed three alleged jihadists 21 April in confrontation near Goudam village, west of Timbuktu. In north east, joint operations of Barkhane, Platform coalition member Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA) and CMA splinter group Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA) 1 April neutralised 60 alleged GSIM militants in Akabar area, Ménaka region. Assailants same day ambushed MSA-GATIA unit near Akabar, killing at least three members. MSA-GATIA and FAMA, backed by Barkhane, 6 April clashed with alleged jihadists in same area, two GATIA and unknown number of assailants killed. MSA-GATIA unit 10 April killed three suspected jihadists near Niger border. MSA 15 April said gunmen on motorbikes had killed one of its officers in Ménaka region. Suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara militants 26-27 April attacked villages of Awakassa and Anderanboucane, Ménaka region, killing at least 40 Tuaregs. In centre, gunmen 2 April attacked checkpoint in Ségou region, killing gendarme. Army 20 April killed fifteen suspected jihadists in Tina forest, Mopti region. Army 6 April killed fourteen suspected jihadists in Dioura, Mopti region; army said they had tried to escape, while local sources accused army of summary executions.

March 2018

Africa

Mali

Inter-ethnic violence and suspected jihadist attacks escalated in centre, as ethnic militias pursued operations against jihadists in Mali-Niger border area with French military support. In centre, armed men reportedly attacked Dogon villages of Sabére Darah and Diankabou in Koro area, Mopti region 9 March. Dogon hunters 11 March reportedly killed two Fulani herders and set fire to several Fulani-owned houses in Madougou, Mopti region. Fulani and Dogon communities clashed around Koro 18 March, at least eight killed and Sabére Darah village burnt down. President of Fulani association Tabital Pulaaku 13 March said Dogon militias had killed at least 25 Fulani civilians in past eight days. Armed groups continued to attack govt troops, international forces and civilians in centre and north. Assailants attacked army contingent after its vehicle hit improvised mine in Mopti region 8 March, four soldiers killed. Unclaimed improvised mine killed three civilians in Mondoro, Mopti region 19 March. Jihadist coalition Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) claimed 22 March mortar attack on UN camp in Kidal in north that wounded five French soldiers. Gunmen 28 March attacked hotel in Bandiagar, Mopti region, one soldier and one assailant killed. In north east, Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA), splinter from rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA), and Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA), Platform coalition member, confronted assailants in Tinzouragan and Tawraghen, Ménaka region 6-7 March, killing five and arresting ten. Following ambush of MSA-GATIA-Barkhane convoy carrying fifteen prisoners near Ménaka 6 March, coalition 12 March launched operation in area, killing seven alleged jihadists. MSA and GATIA 9-10 March killed about fifteen militants and arrested two in Indelimane and Tinzouragan areas, Ménaka region. French military 15 March said operations in Mali-Niger-Burkina Faso border area had “neutralised” 60 jihadists since Nov 2017. Ahead of presidential election scheduled for 29 July, main members of ruling coalition 10 March said they would support President Keita’s candidacy. Mayor of Sikasso Kalfa Sanogo and Aliou Boubacar Diallo from Democratic Alliance for Peace (ADP-Maliba) announced their candidacies 10-11 March respectively.

February 2018

Africa

Mali

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.

January 2018

Africa

Mali

Suspected jihadists increased attacks on national and international forces, especially in east and centre. Alleged jihadists attacked Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA), Platform coalition member, in Ménaka region in east 6 Jan, killing four. French Barkhane forces 10 Jan captured several people suspected to have links to jihadists. Suicide bomber in vehicle detonated explosives near Barkhane convoy near Indelimane, Ménaka region 11 Jan injuring three French soldiers; attack claimed by Islamic State branch in Sahel. Civilian vehicle triggered mine near Boni, Mopti region in centre 25 Jan, 26 people killed. Army said it had repelled attack at Youwarou, Mopti region 25 Jan, killing seven attackers. Alleged jihadists attacked military positions in Soumpi, Timbuktu region in north 27 Jan killing fourteen soldiers and in Ménaka, Ménaka region 28 Jan killing at least five soldiers. Govt 11 Jan said it would launch large military operation to secure centre. Delegation of ex-rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) early Jan went to Washington and New York to argue their case with UN Security Council members; President Keita 12 Jan said trip was attempt to lead “parallel negotiations” outside framework of Algiers peace agreement. Agreement follow-up committee 17 Jan decided on new timeline for implementation. FMs of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in capital Bamako 8 Jan decided to create fund to channel donor funds for counter-terror operations. Following meeting of FMs of G5 Sahel countries (Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania) and French defence ministry in Paris 15 Jan, Malian FM announced launch of second G5 Sahel operation, but kept details secret.

December 2017

Africa

Mali

Signatories of 2015 peace deal struggled to implement its major provisions, as attacks on national and international forces continued in north and centre. Governor of Ménaka region in east 3 Dec confirmed that army and National Guard had late Nov begun joint patrols to secure Ménaka town with support from members of armed group Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA), splinter from rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA), and members of Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA), member of pro-national unity Platform coalition. Coalition of splinter armed groups (CME) 4 Dec demanded to be included in peace deal monitoring bodies, and threatened to block deal’s implementation by “all means” if rejected. Attacks continued on national and international forces and civilians. Unidentified assailants ambushed National Guard convoy on Douentza-Gao road, Mopti region 3 Dec injuring two soldiers; abducted and killed five telecoms workers in Dianke, Timbuktu region 8 Dec; ambushed convoy of deputy prefect of Nara in Koulikoro region 9 Dec, wounding five soldiers and one civilian; attacked convoy of local leader in Timbuktu region 10 Dec killing at least six. UN peacekeepers 15 Dec repelled four simultaneous attacks on their positions in Kidal town; one peacekeeper wounded. At summit on joint force of G5 Sahel countries (Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania) in Paris 13 Dec, Saudi Arabia pledged $100mn and United Arab Emirates $30mn toward force. Following clashes late Nov between Malian and Guinean artisanal gold miners over mining site in border area, officials from both countries met in Kankan, Guinea 4-5 Dec and worked toward border demarcation. After PM Abdoulaye Idrissa Maïga resigned with his govt 29 Dec, President Keita next day named former Defence Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maïga new PM and appointed new govt.

November 2017

Africa

Mali

Ceasefire held in north between rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) and pro-national unity Platform coalition initiated in Sept, but attacks on national and international forces continued in north and centre. Major attacks included: in north, unidentified gunmen 3 Nov attacked two army positions in Gao region, two assailants and six soldiers killed; one soldier killed when his vehicle triggered bomb in Timbuktu region 6 Nov. Jihadist coalition Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM) 8 Nov claimed recent attacks on UN mission (MINUSMA) in Timbuktu region in north and Mopti region in centre. Unidentified gunmen 9 Nov ambushed MINUSMA convoy in Mopti region, killing two peacekeepers. Attack claimed by GSIM on MINUSMA-army joint patrol in Indelimane, Ménaka region 24 Nov left three peacekeepers and one soldier dead. Another peacekeeper killed in attack near Douentza same day. UN said three MINUSMA camps in Aguelhok, Tessalit and Kidal cities in north came under rocket and mortar attack 28 Nov, no reported casualties. GSIM said French airstrike late Oct killed three jihadists and eleven Malian soldiers it had taken hostage; French officials said “hostages” had turned jihadist. Joint force of G5 Sahel countries (Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania) deployed first mission “Hawbi” 27 Oct-11 Nov in Mali-Niger-Burkina border area between Ansongo (Mali) and Diori (Burkina Faso) involving troops from three host countries; mission 7 Nov arrested officer of rebel group National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (CMA coalition member) and seven other CMA gunmen near Tessit, Ansongo; 12 Nov released all eight men after CMA condemned “arbitrary arrest”. Govt 27 Nov said it would postpone regional elections due 17 Dec until April 2018 citing insecurity. Artisanal miners reportedly clashed in Guinea-Mali border area 27 Nov leaving at least six dead.

October 2017

Africa

Mali

Following 20 Sept agreement between rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) and pro-national unity Platform coalition, parties 10 Oct signed new local agreement called Anefis Two, aimed at setting up local security arrangements to keep peace in Kidal region in north. Mainly ethnic Doosaak CMA splinter group Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA) said it clashed with ethnic Fulani associated with Islamist militants in Ménaka region in east 2-3 Oct and 15 Oct, claiming at least a dozen killed. Alleged Islamist militants continued attacks in north and centre: gendarmes’ vehicle hit IED on Saye-Mougna axis, Ségou region in centre 2 Oct; gunmen fired at boat in Kouakourou, Mopti region in centre 5 Oct; gunmen shot at gendarmerie post Ségou region killing two civilians 8 Oct; gunmen attacked army outpost in Ansongo circle, Gao region in north killing soldier; alleged Islamist militants fired rockets at gendarmerie position in Kew, Mopti region 15 Oct. UN Security Council visit to Mali, Mauritania and Burkina Faso 19-22 Oct concluded need to support planned G5 Sahel joint force to counter Islamist militancy and trafficking in region. Following UN Security Council meeting on joint force 30 Oct, U.S. Sec State Tillerson pledged up to $60mn in support. French officials 26 Oct said French Barkhane force had “neutralised” fifteen al-Qaeda-linked jihadists in extreme north 23 Oct. Jihadist coalition Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 27 Oct said eleven Malian soldiers and three national guards taken hostage by jihadists were also killed during 23 Oct operation.

September 2017

Africa

Mali

Following late Aug and early Sept ceasefires, rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) and pro-national unity Platform coalition 20 Sept in Bamako signed agreement that includes release of prisoners and return of Platform forces to Takalot, 40km from Kidal from where CMA forced them out. Security situation remained volatile in north, with attacks targeting govt forces (FAMA) and UN mission (MINUSMA). Two IED explosions near city of Aguelhok, Kidal region and on Ansongo-Ménaka axis, Gao region 5-6 Sept killed two peacekeepers and one civilian; unidentified assailants 6 Sept ambushed FAMA patrol in Ménaka city market, killing one; French Barkhane forces 8 Sept reportedly killed two Islamist militants in Gao city; unidentified assailants killed FAMA soldier and peacekeeper in ambush near Ménaka city 14 and 20 Sept; IED explosion targeting MINUSMA vehicle in Kidal city 14 Sept wounded two peacekeepers; military 20 Sept reported attacks on MINUSMA camp and outposts in Kidal region, no casualties reported; MINUSMA vehicle triggered bomb 24 Sept on road some 50km north of Gao, at least three peacekeepers reportedly killed. Preparations for launch of G5 Sahel force to counter jihadism in region continued: MINUSMA 7 Sept transferred control of camp in Léré near Mauritanian border to FAMA for use as G5 force base; President Keita 9 Sept inaugurated new G5 command base in Sévaré, Mopti region, and 19 Sept at UN General Assembly appealed for increased financial assistance to cover estimated €423mn budget. As requested by govt, UN Security Council 5 Sept adopted new sanctions regime to impose travel bans and asset freezes on those undermining peace agreement.

August 2017

Africa

Mali

Separatist rebel alliance Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) late July defeated Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA), member of pro-national unity Platform coalition, in clashes near Kidal in north leaving several dozen combatants dead, and entered Ménaka town in east to maintain order alongside national and international security forces. Suspected Islamist militants 14 Aug launched two apparently coordinated attacks on UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) in northern city of Timbuktu – killing six civilians and gendarme – and in central town of Douentza, killing soldier and UN peacekeeper. Community-based armed groups continued to develop; new Songhay Ganda group announced its formation 15 Aug in Gao region. CMA delegation in Bamako mid-Aug discussed with govt and other stakeholders implementation of June 2015 peace agreement, including formation of joint patrols and return of state administration to Kidal, and highlighted need to ensure proposed revised constitution fosters principle of self-administration by local residents. Elders’ group known as “founding families” 12 Aug called on President Keita to suspend proposed revision of constitution, which includes strengthening of presidential powers. After weeks of protests, Keita 18 Aug said revision would be pushed back and promised to organise new and more inclusive consultations.

July 2017

Africa

Mali

Serious fighting between signatory parties of June 2015 peace agreement resumed in Kidal region in north. Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA), member of pro-national unity Platform coalition, 6 July clashed with separatist rebel alliance Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) near Aguelhok, over ten reportedly killed. Clashes erupted again 11 July in Djancheche area, 65km from Kidal city, casualties unknown. In east, ethnic Doosaak linked to CMA splinter group Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA) and Tuaregs linked to GATIA clashed with ethnic Fulani reportedly close to jihadist groups, especially Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, in Ménaka region 5-10 July. Armed assailants continued to attack Malian, UN and French forces and civilians in several areas. Eight unidentified gunmen 8 July clashed with policemen in Ségou region in centre. IED 11 July hit UN mission (MINUSMA) vehicle near UN camp in Kidal city. Unidentified gunmen same day attacked police vehicle in Timbuktu, wounding two policemen. Malian and French troops 8 July arrested six alleged jihadists in camp near Ber, Timbuktu region in north, including Alhousseini Ag Assaley, close associate of Amadou Koufa, leader of jihadist group Macina Liberation Front. Alleged jihadists ambushed eight govt troops 9 July near Ménaka whose bodies were found 17 July. At summit of G5 Sahel (Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania) in Bamako 1-2 July, members each pledged €10mn to finance 5,000-strong joint military force to counter jihadism in region, EU repeated pledge of €50mn and France pledged €8mn and operational and technical assistance; pledges still fall short of estimated €385mn required. Civil society and political parties protested in Bamako and in Kayes, Sikasso and Ségou regions 1 July against proposed changes in new draft constitution including those that would strengthen presidential powers; govt announced no new date for referendum, initially planned 9 July.

June 2017

Africa

Mali

Violence in north continued to impede implementation of June 2015 peace agreement and intercommunal fighting worsened in centre. Agreement’s signatories (govt, former rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) and govt-aligned Platform armed group coalition) 23 June agreed new timeline for implementation, including establishment of interim authorities in five northern regions by 31 July. Intercommunal conflicts involving signatory armed groups in north persisted: ethnic Idnan gunmen 6 June reportedly killed ethnic Imrad man, assaulted others and burned mayor’s house in Kidal city; pro-national unity Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA) reportedly killed eleven people in Gao and Kidal regions 8-10 June; former rebel CMA 12 June killed five people in Anoumalan, south of Aguelhok. Intercommunal violence worsened in centre: Dogon and Fulani communities clashed in several villages in Mopti region 10-19 June, 30 reportedly killed. Unidentified gunmen continued to attack govt forces (FAMA) and international forces (French Barkhane mission and UN peacekeepers, MINUSMA) in north and centre. Mortar attack 1 June on MINUSMA camp and Barkhane positions near Timbuktu airport wounded eight French personnel; jihadist coalition Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM) claimed attack. Barkhane retaliatory airstrike near Timbuktu reportedly killed five alleged jihadists 4 June. Rocket attack 8 June on MINUSMA camp in Kidal city wounded five peacekeepers. Gunmen same day attacked MINUSMA post east of Kidal city, reportedly killing three peacekeepers, GSIM claimed responsibility. Unidentified gunmen 17 June attacked FAMA positions in Bintagoungou, Timbuktu region, killing five soldiers, and in Bamba 19 June, killing two civilians. Gunmen 18 June stormed Kangaba resort near Bamako, killing four guests and one soldier; al-Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility. African Union 3 June pledged support to efforts of Sahel G5 (Niger, Mali, Chad, Mauritania and Burkina Faso) against jihadism and EU 5 June promised €50mn to support G5 joint military force; UN Security Council 21 June adopted resolution endorsing G5 force but did not authorise use of force. National Assembly 3 June agreed on draft constitution to be put to referendum 9 July; civil society organised protests mid-late June against amendments in proposed draft, especially reinforcement of presidential powers (including power to nominate Senate president) and dissolution of High Court of Justice; govt 21 June postponed referendum without setting new date; thousands protested in Bamako 28 June in favour of referendum on proposed draft.

May 2017

Africa

Mali

No progress made in implementation of peace agreement as intercommunal, jihadist and criminal violence persisted. Fulani Ganda Izo militia and Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA), both members of pro-national unity Platform coalition, clashed in Timbuktu region 2 May, reportedly over cattle rustling; five Ganda Izo and one GATIA fighter killed. Attacks continued against govt forces (FAMA) and UN peacekeepers (MINUSMA): gunmen 2 May ambushed FAMA convoy on Nampala-Dogoffri axis, Ségou region, killing nine soldiers; attack reportedly led by Ba Moussa of jihadist coalition Group to Defend Islam and Muslims (GSIM). Group 3 May fired rockets on MINUSMA camp in Timbuktu city, killing peacekeeper. Armed robberies reported in Timbuktu, Ansongo, Gao and Kidal cities and on main roads. Four members of Malian Red Cross kidnapped and released in Mopti region 15 May. In Mopti region in centre, suspected jihadists 24 May burned down school in Ndodjiga village and unidentified gunmen 28 May killed local official in Mondoro town. Govt 4 May agreed with other G5 Sahel countries (Niger, Chad, Mauritania and Burkina Faso) to create joint military force by end of 2017 to counter jihadists and organised crime and 9 May agreed with Chad and Niger to strengthen judicial cooperation in fight against terrorism and cross-border crime enabling three countries to arrest, prosecute and convict each other’s nationals.

April 2017

Africa

Mali

Conference of National Understanding intended to foster reconciliation 27 March-2 April in Bamako highlighted need to open talks with jihadists including Ansar Dine’s leader Iyad Ag Ghaly and Macina Liberation Front’s leader Amadou Kouffa. French and German FMs 7 April in Bamako opposed negotiating with “terrorists”. Implementation of June 2015 peace agreement continued to generate tensions: rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) splinter Congress for Justice in Azawad (CJA) continued to obstruct establishment of interim authorities in Timbuktu and Taoudeni regions. Govt forces (FAMA), pro-national unity Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA) and CMA splinter Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA) 12 April launched joint patrols in Ménaka city and surroundings, claiming they constituted joint operational mechanism foreseen in agreement, but CMA forces absent. Violence and banditry persisted in north and centre. Drug traffickers repeatedly clashed in Kidal and Ménaka regions: rival groups 15-17 April attacked at least three convoys; groups clashed in Ménaka region 20 April. Officer of rebel group National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) killed in Kidal city 5 April. Unidentified gunmen 7 April attacked Platform coalition of armed groups that favour national unity in Anéfis, killing three; Platform accused pro-CMA Ifoghas Tuaregs. Unidentified gunmen attacked Gargando village, Timbuktu region 8 April killing five CJA combatants and local official; CJA accused al-Qaeda. Jihadists 18 April attacked FAMA in Tagharouste, Timbuktu region, killing at least four, French forces killed about ten jihadists fleeing scene; jihadist coalition Group to Defend Islam and Muslims allegedly claimed responsibility. French, Malian and Burkinabè forces carried out joint Operation Panga on Mali-Burkina Faso border 27 March-10 April to eliminate jihadists, especially Malam Ibrahim Dicko’s faction (see Burkina Faso). President Keita appointed Defence Minister Abdoulaye Idrissa Maiga as PM 8 April. Maiga formed new govt 11 April, including eleven new ministers. Govt 16 April negotiated agreement with striking health workers, but many teachers continued strike.

March 2017

Africa

Mali

Partial establishment of interim authorities in north during month – key provision of June 2015 peace agreement – did little to decrease tensions as attacks on security forces continued in north and centre. Govt 2 March established interim authorities in Ménaka and Gao regions but mandate, budget and length of terms remained unclear. Violent protests by armed groups prevented establishment of interim authorities in Taoudenni and Timbuktu regions: Arab Movement of Azawad factions from ex-rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements (MAA-CMA) and from militia in favour of national unity (MAA-Platform) 5 March jointly confirmed they had taken checkpoints from govt armed forces (FAMA) in Timbuktu city after deadly skirmishes, rejecting interim president for Taoudenni region; 10 March yielded several checkpoints to FAMA and French Barkhane forces. CMA splinter group Congress for Justice in Azawad (CJA) 3 March mobilised forces around Timbuktu city to protest appointment of pro-CMA Berabish Arab as interim president of Timbuktu region. In video released 2 March leaders from jihadist groups Ansar Dine, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al-Murabitun pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and announced merger into Group to Defend Islam and Muslims. New group 10 March reportedly claimed 5 March attack on FAMA outpost in Boulkessi, Mopti region in centre, in which eleven soldiers were killed; al-Qaeda central command 18 March acknowledged group’s creation. Unidentified gunmen 29 March attacked checkpoint in Boulkessi, reportedly killing two gendarmes and one civilian. Attacks targeting FAMA, UN mission MINUSMA and Barkhane forces and banditry remained high in several regions. Unidentified attackers fired mortar shells at MINUSMA and Barkhane camp in Amachach, Kidal region 5 March, no casualties reported. Six assailants 11 March stole arms and motorbikes from police station in Djenné, Mopti region before burning it down. FAMA clashed with alleged jihadists in Ansongo, Gao region 13 March, two civilians and two FAMA killed. Unidentified assailants same day burned down two schools in Taga and Koumaga, Mopti region. Fulani herders clashed with Bambara farmers 22 March near Diabaly, Ségou region, at least eight people killed. Group to Defend Islam and Muslims said it clashed with Bambara farmers and army 25 March in Macina, Ségou region and “killed or wounded dozens”. Govt 10 March accepted proposed amendments to constitution to align it with June 2015 peace agreement; national assembly to vote on amendments before July referendum. Conference of national understanding intended to foster reconciliation opened 27 March in Bamako; CMA 28 March decided to participate, political opposition remained absent.

February 2017

Africa

Mali

Implementation of peace agreement in north inched forward and intercommunal fighting worsened in centre. Peace agreement signatories and international mediation 10 Feb issued joint statement identifying main contentious issues and setting new calendar for implementation, including plan to establish interim authorities in north 13-20 Feb. Govt 16 Feb appointed interim presidents of regional councils: two from main separatist rebel alliance Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) in Kidal and Timbuktu, and one from each of Platform coalition that favours national unity in Gao, from CMA splinter group Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA) in Ménaka and from govt in Taoudenni. Pro-CMA Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA) same day rejected appointment of interim authorities in Taoudenni. Govt 17 Feb appointed new governor of Kidal close to Platform but subsequent tensions delayed official instalment of interim authorities in Kidal until 28 Feb. Dissatisfied armed groups briefly occupied regional councils in Gao 27 Feb and Timbuktu 28 Feb. Army and armed group joint patrols, envisioned in peace agreement, started in Gao 23 Feb. Intercommunal violence rose in centre. Fulani and Bambara armed groups clashed near town of Ké-Macina, Ségou region 12 Feb killing at least 21, reportedly after unidentified gunmen killed trader 11 Feb in Ké-Macina. Govt forces (FAMA) 16 Feb said they had arrested four jihadists suspected of involvement in intercommunal clashes. Armed assailants continued to attack Malian, UN and French forces and civilians in several areas. Attacks on FAMA outposts near Andéranboukane, Ménaka region and Tongorongo, Mopti region 4 Feb killed several soldiers; IED 8 Feb killed soldier near Alafia, Timbuktu region. MINUSMA convoy 5 Feb triggered IED in Aguelhok, Kidal region, four injured. Unidentified gunmen 7 Feb kidnapped Colombian nun in Karangasso, Sikasso region. FAMA arrested twenty alleged jihadists and killed one person who resisted arrest 11 Feb in Dialoubé, Mopti region. French defence ministry 14 Feb said Barkhane forces had thwarted “terrorist attack” in Kidal region. Heads of state of G5 Sahel (Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Chad) in Bamako 6-7 Feb pledged to create joint task force to fight terrorism.

January 2017

Africa

Mali

Jihadist bombing in Gao threatened fragile progress in security arrangements in north. While main separatist rebel alliance Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) and Platform coalition that favours national unity were negotiating conditions of participation in joint patrols, car bomb claimed by jihadist group al-Murabitun exploded 18 Jan at joint camp in Gao, killing 61 soldiers and armed group members. Germany 11 Jan said it would add 350 soldiers and eight combat and transport helicopters to its 650 troops in UN mission, MINUSMA. EU same day extended European External Action Service mission, EUCAP Sahel Mali, until Jan 2019 and allocated it €29.7mn for one year from mid-Jan 2017. National security forces, MINUSMA and French Barkhane forces continued to be targets of asymmetrical attacks. Unidentified assailants 1 Jan burned down police station in Gossi, Timbuktu region. Al-Murabitun claimed 6 Jan attack on govt forces (FAMA) outpost in Ansongo, Gao region that killed two FAMA. Two unidentified gunmen 4 Jan killed International Committee of the Red Cross employee in Gao region. FAMA vehicle 11 Jan triggered IED in Mopti region, five soldiers killed. In centre, unidentified gunmen shot two mayors in Boni 18 Jan and Mondoro 28 Jan. Pro-unity Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA) said CMA attacked checkpoint near Tin-Assako, Kidal region 21 Jan killing fourteen. During Africa-France summit in Bamako, Jeune Afrique 13 Jan reported Barkhane forces killed ten-year-old boy in Nov in Tigabatene, Kidal region; French President Hollande said investigation ongoing. Govt, Burkina Faso and Niger 24 Jan agreed to create joint military force to counter insecurity in border areas in Liptako-Gourma zone.

December 2016

Africa

Mali

Disagreements and continued clashes between armed groups prevented deployment planned for 10 Dec in northern regions Gao and Kidal of joint patrols including main separatist rebel alliance Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA), Platform coalition that favours national unity and government forces (FAMA); over 100 former CMA members 29 Dec joined FAMA and pro-govt armed groups in Gao. Pro-unity Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA) 1 Dec attacked CMA base in N’tilit, Gao region, killing at least three CMA. Unidentified gunmen 18 Dec attacked base of CMA splinter group Congress for Justice in Azawad (CJA) in Timbuktu region. CMA President Ag Intalla 19 Dec said coalition would suspend participation in Algiers peace process citing violence and lack of reform and asked Algeria-led mediation to call high-level meeting to “save the accord”. Suspected bandits and jihadists continued to attack national and international security forces in several areas. Mortar attack claimed by Ansar Dine jihadist group on military camp hosting FAMA, MINUSMA peacekeepers and French Barkhane troops in Kidal region 4 Dec wounded Chadian blue helmet. Barkhane vehicle 8 Dec detonated IED in Kidal region, French soldier wounded. Gunmen 15 Dec ambushed FAMA convoy in Mopti region, same day attacked gendarmerie outpost in Sikasso region, wounding gendarme before crossing into Burkina Faso. Gunmen 17 Dec attacked National Guard outpost in Timbuktu region, wounding two officers. Gunmen 6 Dec stormed Niono prison in Segou region, freeing 93 inmates and wounding at least two guards. French-Swiss aid worker kidnapped in Gao city 24 Dec.

November 2016

Africa

Mali

Tensions remained high between armed group signatories to June 2015 peace agreement. Main separatist rebel alliance Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) splinter groups Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA), Coalition of Azawad People (CPA), Congress for Justice in Azawad (CJA) and CMA member Coordination of Patriotic Resistance Movements and Forces (CMFPR2) 10 Nov rejected CMA’s proposed list of transitional authorities for north. CMA 11 Nov criticised govt’s decision to hold 20 Nov local elections before transitional authorities in place. Local elections marred by CMA boycott, low voter turnout and violence including attacks on security forces protecting ballot boxes, reportedly killing at least five. No elections held in Kidal, Taoudeni and Ménaka regions in north, partial elections held in Gao, Timbuktu and Mopti. Jihadist groups continued to attack national and international forces in Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal regions in north and Koulikoro region in centre including ambushing convoys, laying IEDs and attacking prison; jihadist groups Ansar Dine and al-Murabitun’s branch that joined al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed some attacks; at least seven soldiers and five civilians killed. Suicide attack at Gao airport 29 Nov only killed attacker. Trial of 2012 coup and former junta leader Amadou Haya Sanogo began 30 Nov in Sikasso (south).

October 2016

Africa

Mali

Main separatist rebel alliance, Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA), weakened by killing of one of its military leaders and further splintering, as Platform coalition of armed groups pro national unity pushed for local deals with CMA members in Ménaka and Timbuktu regions. Military chief of staff of CMA member High Council for Unity of Azawad (HCUA) killed 8 Oct in car bomb in Kidal. Tuareg leaders Hamma Ag Mahmoud and Colonel Abass Ag Mohamed Ahmad 10 Oct broke from CMA and created new group, Congress for Justice in Azawad, said they wanted to join peace process. Two children of leader of CMA member Coalition of the People for Azawad kidnapped for ransom in Bamako 1 Oct. French Barkhane soldiers 5-6 Oct accompanied first joint road patrol, as planned in June 2015 peace deal, comprising armed forces (FAMA), MINUSMA and Platform along Ménaka-Ansongo axis in east; only CMA did not join. Govt 14 Oct appointed interim authorities in five northern regions; several CMA and Platform factions challenged lists, said they excluded key actors or were made mostly by factions from Kidal region. Targeted killings of civilians and attacks on national and international forces still high in north and centre. Several CMA fighters reportedly opened fire in Alata village, Ménaka region 8 Oct, wounding at least three civilians, abducting several others. Unidentified gunmen raided Sehine and Tinazibine villages, Ménaka region same day, reportedly killing three people. FAMA convoy ambushed in Timbuktu region 4 Oct, one killed; another convoy triggered IED in Mopti region 13 Oct, four soldiers killed, jihadist group Ansar Eddine 15 Oct claimed attack. MINUSMA peacekeepers attacked several times in Kidal region, three killed; MINUSMA forces killed suicide bomber attempting to attack convoy near Timbuktu 10 Oct. Barkhane vehicle detonated IED near Abeïbara, Kidal region 9 Oct; French officials said six soldiers wounded, Ansar Eddine 11 Oct claimed responsibility and said two soldiers killed.

September 2016

Africa

Mali

Continued fighting and armed group split in north further undermined peace process and violence persisted in centre. Communal rivalries within main separatist rebel alliance Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) led to creation of splinter, Movement for Salvation of Azawad (MSA) 2 Sept. MSA and ethnic Imghad Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA), member of pro-unity Platform coalition, 15 Sept agreed to run joint patrols. Deadly fighting between GATIA and CMA resumed 16 Sept in Kidal region after talks aimed at cessation of hostilities initiated mid-Aug ended without reaching agreement. Platform fighters 18-26 Sept took control of formerly CMA-held areas, clashing sporadically with CMA combatants. Unidentified attackers 25 Sept killed one army officer and relative in Timbuktu, army 26 Sept accused jihadists. Armed banditry, targeting NGOs in particular, rose in Ménaka region. Violence in centre continued. Unidentified gunmen attacked gendarmerie outpost near Bandiagara, Mopti region 1 Sept, wounding one gendarme. Gunmen same day attacked another outpost near San, Segou region, stealing weapons and ammunition; jihadist group Ansar Dine claimed responsibility. After armed forces retreated from Boni to Douentza, both Mopti region 1 Sept, alleged jihadists took control of Boni 2 Sept, but next day jihadists fled, reportedly taking local official hostage, and armed forces returned with air support from UN mission; in light of attacks President Keita sacked Defence Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly 3 Sept. Gunmen ambushed army convoy near Boni 9 Sept, killing three soldiers, wounding two.

August 2016

Africa

Mali

After significant deterioration in security late July, rival Tuareg armed groups clashed again in Kidal region and suspected jihadist groups continued attacks in north and centre. Ethnic Imghad Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA), member of pro-unity Platform coalition, 8 Aug clashed with ethnic Ifoghas High Council for Unity of Azawad (HCUA), member of main rebel alliance Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA); informal talks between parties in Bamako failed to reach agreement. Unidentified armed men attacked two army convoys near Tenenkou, Mopti region 8 Aug killing at least five soldiers; forced gendarmes to evacuate position in Nantaga, Mopti region 19 Aug; attacked Gathi Loumo, Mopti region, burning city hall 21 Aug; same day attacked security forces on Gossi-Hombori axis in Timbuktu region. One MINUSMA peacekeeper killed when vehicle hit mine 7 Aug in Kidal region. Inter-ethnic clashes left five dead near Tenenkou, Mopti region 27 Aug. Arrest of radio presenter Mohamed Youssouf Bathily or “Ras Bath” in Bamako 16 Aug for criticising govt sparked riots, police killed demonstrator; Ras Bath released 18 Aug but judicial process ongoing. Former Ansar Dine member Almed al-Faqi al-Mahdi appeared before International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands 22 Aug charged with destruction of mausoleums in Timbuktu.

July 2016

Africa

Mali

In north security forces violently repressed protests and rebel groups clashed. Security forces 12 July opened fire on youth associations in Gao protesting appointment of interim authorities in north – major step in implementation of peace deal – and demanding to be included in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration process; four killed, 37 injured. Protests also broke out in Timbuktu and Bamako in following days. Govt delegation 13 July met youth in Gao to ease tensions. Following rise in tensions between ethnic Tuareg groups, Imghad Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA) and Ifoghas High Council for Unity of Azawad (HCUA) over control of Kidal city and trafficking routes, groups 17 July in Niamey, Niger signed agreement on local security and power sharing. However, clashes between groups in Kidal 21-22 July left up to twenty dead. GATIA and main rebel alliance Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) 30 July clashed at Edjerer about 50km NE of Kidal, GATIA claimed to have killed six CMA. Seven new ministers appointed 7 July including Nina Wallet Intallou of signatory rebel group National Movement for Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). Suspected jihadist groups including Ansar Dine and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb continued attacks against national and international forces throughout month in Mopti, Ségou, Koro, Timbuktu and Kidal regions, killing at least nineteen soldiers, one National Guard and local official. Ansar Dine and ethnic armed group National Alliance for the Protection of Fulani Identity and the Restoration of Justice (ANSIPRJ), formed in June, claimed 19 July attack on army base at Nampala, Ségou region that killed seventeen soldiers. Security forces 27 July arrested regional leader of Ansar Dine, Abou Yehiya, allegedly involved in Nampala attack. Parliament 30 July extended state of emergency until March 2017.

June 2016

Africa

Mali

Implementation of June 2015 peace agreement remained slow, as armed group and ethnic violence continued. Govt, main rebel alliance Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) and pro-unity armed groups (Platform) 14 June agreed new calendar to appoint interim authorities and restore public services in five northern regions. Prospect of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) program triggered violence between armed groups: two Platform groups, Groupe d’autodéfense touareg imrad et alliés (GATIA) and Ganda Izo, 11 June clashed after latter tried to create pre-DDR cantonment site near Douentza, Gourma region, which GATIA considered under its control; armed group leaders met in Bamako to ease tensions, GATIA released prisoners. Suspected jihadists continued attacks on national and international forces: unidentified gunmen 12 June clashed with govt forces in N Timbuktu region, wounding two soldiers; 19 June attacked National Guard outpost near Gao, wounding soldier. Communal violence continued in NE: alleged Imouchagh (Tuareg faction) fighters 12 June attacked CMA/Doosak position in Menaka region, three Imouchagh allegedly killed and two Doosak wounded. In centre two armed groups, Alliance nationale pour la sauvegarde de l’identité peule et la restauration de la justice (ANSIPRJ) and Mouvement pour la défense de la patrie (MDP), announced formation 18 and 25 June respectively, MDP joined pro-unity Platform coalition. UNSC 29 June extended MINUSMA mandate to 30 June 2017 and raised peacekeeper ceiling by some 2,500.

May 2016

Africa

Mali

Clashes between ethnic armed groups and attacks by suspected jihadists rose in centre and armed groups continued to clash in north. Hundreds of protesters in Gao 13 May demanded govt and UN mission MINUSMA include more local youth in delayed disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) process. Pro-govt Groupe d’autodéfense touareg imrad et alliés (GATIA) 14 May reportedly attempted to forcefully disarm Ganda Izo militia in Ndaki, Timbuktu region; two GATIA and one Ganda Izo reportedly killed. French Barkhane mission and govt forces (FAMA) maintained efforts to counter jihadist groups: Special Forces 5 May arrested alleged second-in-command of Ansar Dine’s southern brigade, Yacouba Touré, outside Bamako; Barkhane forces 6 May said they had killed Ansar Dine commander and captured another. Jihadists continued to target FAMA and international forces: alleged jihadists 11 May ambushed FAMA convoy, killing one officer and one soldier; ambushed MINUSMA convoys, killing five peacekeepers in Kidal region 18 May and five in central Mopti region 28 May. Ethnic clashes increased in centre: Fulani and Bambara armed groups clashed repeatedly in Mopti region 30 April-3 May, leaving some 30 dead.

April 2016

Africa

Mali

Limited progress made in implementing June 2015 Bamako agreement; following national assembly’s 31 March adoption of law on appointment of interim authorities in north, signatories discussed nomination modalities 8-11 April but made no decision. French Operation Barkhane and army (FAMA) intensified efforts to counter jihadists: arrested at least five and killed two suspected jihadists 7-9 April in central region. Kidal inhabitants 18 April protested house searches and Barkhane forces’ arrests; youth demonstrators clashed with MINUSMA forces at airport, three protesters killed. After Barkhane forces arrested local guide for alleged links with jihadist groups, jihadist group Ansar Dine 16 April abducted three ICRC employees he was guiding, demanded his release. Jihadists continued attacks: Ansar Dine claimed responsibility for 20 March and 17 April mortar attacks on Amachach military camp, Tessalit district, occupied by FAMA, MINUSMA and Barkhane forces; Barkhane vehicle detonated IED 12 April near Amachach, Kidal region, three French soldiers killed. Bandit attack on civilian convoy 3 April on Douékiré axis, Timbuktu region, killed pro-govt armed group escort.

March 2016

Africa

Mali

UNSC delegation 4-6 March visited to assess implementation of June 2015 Bamako peace agreement; encouraged signatories to accelerate process and expressed support for local peace initiatives. Peace agreement follow-up committee mandated to implement Bamako accord made no progress at seventh session 9-10 March. Local Tuareg and Arab communities and security forces held reconciliation meeting 12 March in Gargando, Timbuktu region. Rebel alliance Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) held peace forum 28-31 March, without presence of govt and pro-govt armed groups. Mali and Burkina Faso forces with support from French Operation Barkhane undertook joint operation 22 Feb-6 March to secure border areas against jihadists. Jihadist group Ansar Eddine claimed responsibility for three attacks on MINUSMA troops near Kidal and Tessalit 5 March and one on FAMA in Macina. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for 21 March unsuccessful attack on EU Training Mission HQ in Bamako. Security forces 31 March reportedly arrested suspected jihadi leader Souleymane Keita.

February 2016

Africa

Mali

Tensions rose 2 Feb when hundreds of pro-govt militia arrived at rebel stronghold Kidal; violence avoided with talks between rebel alliance Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) and pro-govt militia. Leaders 6 Feb jointly announced reduction of pro-govt militia in Kidal and establishment of joint city patrols; both groups underlined commitment to Bamako peace agreement, but said Oct 2015 Anefis pacts were “best tool” for peace. Govt, CMA and pro-govt armed groups 26 Feb jointly stated need to boost peace agreement implementation and announced peace forum in Kidal 27-30 March. Violent jihadi groups remain serious threat with increased attacks against international and govt forces (FAMA) throughout month including: car bomb attack 5 Feb near MINUSMA building in Timbuktu, one soldier killed, two soldiers and two civilians wounded; MINUSMA camp attacked 12 Feb, six peacekeepers killed, 30 wounded. Banditry targeting NGOs and local violence added to widespread insecurity, including NGO vehicle attacked 1 Feb near Timbuktu.

January 2016

Africa

Mali

Delays in implementation of Bamako peace agreement led leader of international mediation, Algeria, to organise emergency meeting 17-18 Jan to address implementation challenges. Govt 19 Jan appointed governors for newly created northern regions Menaka and Taoudeni, in step toward decentralisation and reestablishing state administration in north. Tensions between pro-govt armed groups and French operation Barkhane still high following latter’s late-Dec attack on alleged jihadi convoy in Menaka region, which pro-govt groups claimed killed eight fighters. Jihadi attacks on armed groups, security forces (FAMA) and peacekeepers continued, including: 15 Jan attack on FAMA convoy en route to Goundam, Timbuktu region killed two soldiers and two civilians; separate attacks 28 Jan on FAMA soldiers in Timbuktu and Gao killed four.

December 2015

Africa

Mali

Fighting between Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) and pro-govt armed groups halted following mid-Oct Anefis peace agreement; campaigns and reconciliation meetings continued throughout month to consolidate and extend peace. Members of Fulani self-defence group Ganda Izo 8 Dec began patrolling Menaka city following mid-Nov clashes between on the one hand Fulani and alleged affiliates of Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), and Daoussak communities on the other. Implementation of Bamako peace accords remains stalled. Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) 2 Dec confirmed re-alignment with al-Murabitun, one of two groups claiming responsibility for 20 Nov Bamako attack, following 2012 split between al-Murabitun leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar and AQIM over leadership feud. French army 20 Dec launched operation against al-Murabitun militants near Menaka, some ten militants captured or killed. Pro-govt armed groups alleged operation caused death of several of their members. Radical Islamist group Ansar Eddine 25 Dec claimed responsibility for 24 Dec attack against CMA position in Talandahaq, Kidal region; accused militants from armed group Azawad Liberation National Movement (MNLA), part of CMA, of collaborating with French forces.

November 2015

Africa

Mali

Peace agreement follow-up committee (CSA) early-Nov reported progress on establishment of cantonment sites to begin disarmament process and establishment of mixed patrols by parties in north. Two gunmen 20 Nov attacked luxury hotel in Bamako; some 170 hostages taken, 22 killed and rest released; radical groups al-Murabitoun and Macina Liberation Front both claimed responsibility for attack. Clashes reported 15 Nov in Fourakatane, near Nigerien border, between Daoussak communities, allegedly connected to National Movement for Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), and Fulani communities supposedly connected to radical group Movement for Oneness and Jihad (MUJAO), at least ten killed. Insecurity throughout country continued: seven IED and mine attacks targeting govt and international security forces reported since early-Nov in Gao region; armed men 28 Nov attacked MINUSMA camp in Kidal, two peacekeepers and one contract agent killed, over fourteen wounded; responsibility for attack claimed by radical islamist group Ansar Eddine.

October 2015

Africa

Mali

Peace agreement to end local/communal conflicts in Kidal region signed 11 Oct between Ifoghas and Imghad tribal leaders in Anéfis, following series of talks late-Sept with pro-govt armed groups, armed Tuareg coalition Coordination of the Movement of Azawad (CMA), and govt ministerial delegation. Negotiations with other communities implicated in conflict continued until mid-Oct with other inter-communal agreements signed. Govt 6 Oct sent technical team to Kidal to evaluate region’s education, health and energy needs; govt and CMA 1 Oct exchanged prisoners as confidence building measure. DDR process began early Oct as Technical Security Committee (CTS) conducted first reconnaissance mission for cantonment sites in Gao and Timbuktu region. Attacks on security forces continued mainly in central region, including 1 Oct attack on armed forces convoy and 13 Oct attack on civilian convoy with security forces escort. Army 28 Oct reportedly killed seven jihadis in Mopti region near border with Burkina Faso.

September 2015

Africa

Mali

Armed Tuareg coalition Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) 19 Sept announced it had resumed control of northern town of Anéfis following gradual withdrawal early/mid-Sept of pro-govt armed group GATIA. GATIA agreed to withdraw following negotiations with govt and pro-GATIA associations in Gao. CMA 28 Sept announced resumed participation in peace agreement implementation committee (“Committee of the Agreement” or CSA) following meetings between CMA and pro-govt armed groups in Anéfis and Bamako. Radical group activity and criminal violence continued in north and centre including: MINUSMA convoy attacked 11 Sept, two Senegalese peacekeepers wounded; officer killed 12 Sept in Ouonkoro, Mopti region, police station also looted and burned; several villages in Timbuktu region attacked and looted 31 Aug-1 Sept by unidentified individuals; three NGO workers attacked 12 Sept in Ouro Aly Tem village, Mopti region. Govt 21 Sept postponed planned 25 Oct regional and municipal elections, citing insecurity in north.

August 2015

Africa

Mali

Committee of the Agreement (CSA), tasked with implementing May peace agreement between armed Tuareg coalition Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA), govt and pro-govt armed groups, continued to face challenges as disagreements persisted over representation and responsibility-sharing. Fighting between armed groups resumed in north after pro-govt groups seized Anéfis, south of Kidal. Pro-govt group 30 Aug agreed to withdraw from Anéfis following request by President IBK and threat of UN sanctions. MINUSMA forced to establish 10km buffer zone after clashes 16 and 18 Aug in Kidal region. Rebel coalition CMA 24 Aug suspended its participation in CSA implementation process. International Mediation 26 Aug presented Malian parties roadmap to solve crisis in Anéfis. Attacks on security forces attributed to extremists groups and local criminals continued in central and northern regions: armed forces (FAMA) ambushed 1 Aug near Toulé in Ségou region, two soldiers killed; military camp attacked 3 Aug in Gouma-Rharous, Timbuktu region, eleven soldiers killed; police station attacked 12 Aug in Bamako. Gunmen 8 Aug stormed Byblos hotel in Sévaré, five MINUSMA-associated staff, five FAMA soldiers and two attackers killed.

July 2015

Africa

Mali

Committee of the Agreement (CSA), established to oversee implementation of 20 June peace deal, met 3-5 July and late July; participants failed to agree on rules to share responsibilities within committee, scope of mission, and on individual representatives, slowing implementation progress. Several attacks attributed to jihadi groups throughout month, including 2 July attack on MINUSMA convoy in Tumbuktu region by presumed al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) assailants, six peacekeepers killed. Attacks prompted increased operations by govt and French Barkhane authorities: Barkhane forces 5 July reported AQIM leader Ali Wadossene killed during operation. Armed forces 14 July arrested over fifteen suspected Islamist fighters in Zegoua, near Ivoirian border.

June 2015

Africa

Mali

Armed Tuareg coalition Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) 20 June signed peace agreement with govt and pro-govt armed groups after series of consultations; CMA and govt 5 June signed ceasefire stipulating all armed groups retreat 20km outside of Menaka in Gao region, with MINUSMA securing city. Pro-govt armed groups did not sign but withdrew from Menaka 19 June. Violence continued despite end of clashes between CMA and pro-govt armed groups. Local sources reported 30-40 assailants attacked army camps and police station in Misseni, Sikasso region, 10 June. Security forces 16 June launched operation against suspected jihadi group near Koba village, Mopti region, one soldier wounded, five suspects killed, one taken prisoner. Suspected jihadis attacked army camp in Nara 27 June; nine assailants, three soldiers killed.

May 2015

Africa

Mali

Armed Tuareg coalition Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) 14 May initialled peace accord in Algiers following international pressure, but continues to refuse to sign comprehensive final agreement before key points concerning group’s political and security demands are renegotiated. CMA refused to attend official signing ceremony of accord document 15 May in Bamako; govt, pro-govt armed groups and international mediation 15 May attended. Govt and CMA 30 May met in Algiers for new round of negotiations on peace agreement. Fighting intensified in north: CMA 3 May launched assault on Dire, briefly took control of military camp before Malian Armed Forces (FAMA) intervention forced rebel retreat; CMA 11 May ambushed FAMA convoy near Timbuktu, killing over nine soldiers, wounding dozens. CMA and pro-govt armed group Gatia clashed 13 and 17 May around Ménaka. Attacks on peacekeepers continued: security forces 25 May reported one MINUSMA peacekeeper killed in Bamako; three peacekeepers wounded 28 May by car bomb in Timbuktu.

April 2015

Africa

Mali

Negotiations remain stalled following main Tuareg armed coalition Coordination of Movement of Azawad’s (CMA) refusal to initial 1 March peace agreement. Govt and international mediation continued to pressure CMA to sign: CMA 31 March-5 April consulted with Algerian FM Ramtane Lamamra and UNSG SR Mongi Hamdi. PM IBK 9 April announced CMA willing to sign agreement in Algiers 15 April; CMA denied, reiterated position against current agreement. Attacks on military personnel, peacekeepers and civilians persisted in north, including: 1 April attack on MINUSMA camp near Ansongo by Movement for Oneness and Jihad (MUJAO), in which one child killed and two peacekeepers wounded; booby-trapped vehicle detonated in MINUSMA camp neat Ansongo 15 April, three civilians and nine peacekeepers killed. Violence spread to central regions including: national armed forces (FAMA) attacked 1 April in Boulkessi; two soldiers killed when FAMA vehicle hit IED in Segou region 12 April. Pro-unity Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA) militants 27 April captured National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA)-controlled Ménaka in NE after brief fighting; CMA said attack constituted breach of Feb ceasefire. CMA 29 April launched attack on Goundam, 80km from Timbuktu, two soldiers, one child killed.

March 2015

Africa

Mali

Main Tuareg armed coalition Coordination of Movement of Azawad (CMA) 16 March published “Final Declaration Following Kidal Meetings”, stating refusal to sign preliminary peace deal agreed 1 March between rebels and govt, willingness to pursue further negotiations in context of international mediation. Terrorist attack in Bamako 6 March killed three Malians, one Belgian, one French citizen; claimed by jihadi group Al Mourabitoun. FM Abdoulaye Diop 9 March met French counterpart, requested support to neutralise jihadi networks. Insecurity in north continued: 8 March attack on UN camp in Kidal killed one peacekeeper, ten civilians; two soldiers killed 13 March when army vehicle hit IED on Diabaly-Nampala axis, Segou region; ICRC truck attacked 30 March on route to Niger, driver killed.

February 2015

Africa

Mali

Govt and rebel groups 1 March signed preliminary peace deal; main Tuareg armed coalition, including National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA) same day requested delay for further consultations before signing agreement. Fifth round of peace negotiations began 16 Feb in Algiers, ceasefire signed 19 Feb between govt and six armed groups despite tensions following string of clashes between pro-govt and rebel groups, including: Gatia 3 Feb launched attack on Coordination of Movement of Azawad (CMA) forces near Tabankort, some ten killed; CMA 13 Feb clashed with pro-govt forces at Takazkaza, 40km from Tabankort. Mopti region also suffered attacks: group of armed men 14 Feb attacked Gathi-Loumo, clashed with govt troops, four assailants and two soldiers killed.

January 2015

Africa

Mali

Attacks in north continued to threaten Algiers peace process. Heavy fighting resumed 16-18 Jan between pro-govt and pro-Azawad groups in Tilemsi valley near Tabankort; clashes 27-28 Jan left 10 dead in Tabankort region; clashes 31 Jan in Kano village, near Timbuktu left one dead, twenty kidnapped. PM Moussa Mara 8 Jan resigned, replaced by former PM and high representative for inter-Malian inclusive dialogue Modibo Keita; new govt includes former presidential candidates Dramane Dembélé, Shoguel Kokal Maiga. MINUSMA forces 20 Jan fired on northern rebel groups near Tabankort; UN forces alleged rebels shot first, MNLA claimed MINUSMA initiated clash. Tuareg rebels 23 Jan suspended coordination with UN mission. Anti-MINUSMA demonstrations erupted in Gao 6 Jan after agreement between MINUSMA, rebels leaked online; clashes 27 Jan between anti-MINUSMA protesters and UN peacekeepers left 3 dead; UNSG said will launch inquiry, President Keita (IBK) 29 Jan visited Gao in bid to reduce tensions. Rebel attacks on MINUSMA continued with several wounded and one killed during month. Malian army also suffered attacks including 5 Jan attack by AQIM in Nampala city, near border with Mauritania, that left eight dead.

December 2014

Africa

Mali

Third round of Algiers peace talks suspended 1 Dec, set to resume Jan. Both parties early-Dec criticised provisional peace agreement; disagreements persisted over formal status of north, Azawad Movement Coalition’s federalism demands. Attacks multiplied in Gao, Kidal regions early-Dec: French army vehicle hit 17 Dec on road to Tessalit; Chadian soldier vehicle hit near Aguelhok MINUSMA camp in north; rockets 29 Dec fired at MINUSMA and French camps in Tessalit, jihadi rebel group Ansar Eddine claimed responsibility for attack. Rockets fired at Tessalit camp 31 Dec, no one killed. Pro-govt forces 26 Dec clashed with pro-Azawad group over Bamba, Gao region. French forces 11 Dec announced death of Ahmed al-Tilemsi, key military figure from Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) rebel group.

November 2014

Africa

Mali

Algiers talks between govt and rebel armed groups resumed 20 Nov after 23 Oct suspension to allow Malian parties to discuss draft document with constituencies; Azawad Movements Coalition said document ignored key issues, 1 Nov released “counter-proposal” defending federalism. Algiers talks concluded 28 Nov, parties did not reach agreement; continued disagreement over federalism, next round of talks planned Jan 2015. Limited violations of ceasefire continued throughout month: 2 Nov clashes between govt forces and troops tied to High Council for Azawad Unity (HCUA) in Boulkessi resulted in arrest of twenty militants; explosion in Almoustarat killed two Malian troops same day. Landmine attack 7 Nov against MINUSMA in Almoustarat killed three civilians, another hit a ministerial convoy north of Gao 26 Nov killing two Malian soldiers.

October 2014

Africa

Mali

Inter-Malian peace talks resumed 15 Oct in Algiers; international mediation team 15-17 Oct finalised “mid-term summary”, endorsed 18 Oct by “G5+” regional states and submitted to Malian parties for three day discussion 20 Oct; FM Abdoulaye Diop 25 Oct expressed satisfaction with most recent round of talks, Azawad Movements Coalition (alliance of northern rebel groups formed mid-Sept) late-Oct expressed strong disappointment. Armed violence in north continued to threaten peace process: violation of ceasefire reported 16 Oct following clashes between rival Tuareg groups in Tillit, south of Gao. Azawad Movements Coalition 28 Oct announced united military effort to stem insecurity in north; agreed to abide by May ceasefire. Jihadi attacks on MINUSMA troops continued: nine Nigerian peacekeepers killed in ambush on Menaka-Ansongo road, 3 Oct; three Senegalese peacekeepers injured 25 Oct in Kidal. FM Diop 8 Oct demanded UNSC create rapid intervention force to “efficiently fight terrorist elements”. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian 24 Oct announced strengthened military presence in northern Mali; 29 Oct reported heavy fighting between French force Barkhane and AQIM-related group in Kidal region.

September 2014

Africa

Mali

Inter-Malian peace talks resumed 1 Sept in Algiers. Northern rebel groups HCUA, MNLA, MAA-dissidence, MAA, CPA 12 Sept signed alliance supporting federal solution for Azawad; CMPFR rejected alliance. Three CPA officials 16 Sept dismissed group’s president Ibrahim ag Assaleh for failing to consult with party leadership before signing alliance, ag Assaleh fired mutineers; MAA under similar tensions. MAA splinter group MPSA, SCA 15 Sept complained of exclusion from talks. Govt 18 Sept unveiled regionalisation plan for Azawad, rejected by pro-Azawad coalition. Talks suspended 27 Sept to 13 Oct. Pro-unity march in Bamako 25 Sept. Jihadi attacks continued in Kidal region: 10 Chadian MINUSMA peacekeepers killed, scores wounded in IED attacks; five Tuaregs abducted 16 Sept, 4 released, 1 found killed 23 Sept. AQIM-affiliated Algerian arrested by security forces 13 Sept. President IBK 4 Sept celebrated 1st year in office; 8-13 Sept visited China, secured investments. Opposition 7 Sept denounced general lack of progress; PM Moussa Mara increasingly criticised by majority.

August 2014

Africa

Mali

Pro-Azawad groups late Aug met in Ouagadougou to harmonise positions ahead of 1 Sept negotiations in Algiers; MNLA, MAA 28 Aug agreed to end hostilities, keep Azawad part of Mali, support secular govt. New pro-unity Self-Defence Group of Imrad Touareg and Allies (GATIA) created mid-Aug, requested seat in negotiations; move opposed by other Tuareg organisations. New MAA splinter group, Popular Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MPSA), announced 15 Aug. Amid shifting alliances, 2 MAA factions 9 Aug clashed around Lerneb; tensions between MNLA and MAA reported early Aug. French army 1 Aug officially launched Operation “Bharkane” in Sahel; 10 Aug launched airstrike on extremist groups around Essakane; arrested suspected jihadis near Timbuktu; rockets fired near Gao Barkhane base 12 Aug. Jihadi Ansar Dine leader Iyad Ag Ghali 5 Aug expressed support for AQIM in Youtube video, threatened attacks on French “crusaders”. 2 MINUSMA peacekeepers killed, 4 wounded in jihadi suicide attack on Ber camp 16 Aug.

July 2014

Africa

Mali

First phase of Algerian-led negotiations between govt and 6 rebel armed groups started 16 July; rebel MNLA-HCUA-MAA coalition refused to meet with rebel CPA, CM-FPR and MAA splinter group, 24 July signed 2 separate yet almost identical roadmaps, next round of negotiations to start 17 Aug. FM Abdoulaye Diop 16 July reiterated govt’s willingness to make concessions, though firmly rejected rebels’ bid for independent state of Azawad. 45 Malian soldiers and 41 detained rebels exchanged 15 July ahead of talks. Fighting continued despite negotiations: govt 11 July reported increased jihadi infiltrations and rebel movements in north; dozens reported killed in clashes between MNLA and MAA splinter group around Anefis and Tabankort 11 and 13 July. New ceasefire – third since fighting erupted last May – signed 24 July; jihadi group Al-Mourabitoune 14 July killed French legionnaire in suicide attack north of Gao; various clashes reported around Tabankort, Akaskaza and Tabricha 21-24 July, including MNLA assault on Tuareg camp 21 July. Former jihadi MUJAO leader arrested 29 July. French Defence Minister Jean- Yves Le Drian 13 July announced end of SERVAL operation, to be replaced by broader Barkhane operation against radical Islamist movements in the Sahel; 16 July signed new defence cooperation treaty with Malian govt. Air Algeria flight crashed 24 July around Gossi, 118 onboard killed; investigations ongoing.

June 2014

Africa

Mali

Algeria hosted various meetings 5-17 June, secured pro- govt and rebel armed groups’ commitment to peace talks; ef- forts welcomed by French FM Laurent Fabius 8 June. After Kidal military rout and rebel strategic victories late May, coun- try again divided north/south; no major armed clash in June but 4 peacekeepers killed, 10 wounded in 11 June suicide attack on Aguelhok MINUSMA camp; 1 peacekeeper killed, 6 wounded by landmine in Timbuktu region 30 June. Opposition 13 June put forward censure motion against PM Mara and govt over incapacity to resolve country’s urgent problems, especially in- surgency; motion rejected 18 June. Ex-Defence Minister Maïga 2 June called for parliamentary investigation into May Kidal disaster, urged other leaders to take responsibility. Authorities 5 June arrested group of “red berets”, charged them with attempting to destabilise state authority. UNSC 25 June extended MINUSMA mandate to June 2015, urged greater presence in north. IMF 19 June, World Bank 25 June delayed aid over purchase of $40mn presidential plane and controversial $140mn military contract.

May 2014

Africa

Mali

National Reconciliation Minister Ould Sidy Mohamed 3 May reiterated govt’s willingness to engage in dialogue, warned that discus- sions must respect national territorial integrity, regional stability and principle of inclusion. High Council for Unity of Azawad (HCUA) 11 May expressed desire to hold dialogue outside Mali; FM and Minister for Reconciliation 22 May travelled to Algiers to discuss offer to facilitate talks; not all rebel groups accepted. Mauritanian President Ould Abdel Aziz 24 May visited Kidal, secured ceasefire agreement; UNSC 29 May exhorted govt, rebels to uphold ceasefire. MNLA informant killed 2 May in Kidal by unidentified gunmen; French soldier killed 8 May near Tessalit; Serval forces 11 May arrested “Mortalla” Al-Hous- seini ag Ahayare, former political commissioner of Ansar Dine. PM Mara 17 May visited Kidal, prompting deadly clashes between Tuareg armed fighters and security forces: 8 soldiers killed and 25 injured; 28 Tuareg fighters killed and 62 wounded. MNLA early May abducted 4 civil servants and 24 Malian soldiers, blamed govt’s failure to advance peace talks; hostages released 18-19 May after negotiations; PM Mara said govt “officially at war with rebels”. Following 17 May death of 8 govt hostages in Kidal, President IBK said “cannot understand” why France pressuring govt to negotiate with MNLA.

April 2014

Africa

Mali

Month saw limited progress in peace talks; overlapping external facilitation attempts highlighted lack of coordination. President IBK 14 April repeated govt ready to negotiate but cautioned against MNLA’s “duplicity”. Security operations in north ongoing. MUJAO 23 April announced death of hostage Gilberto Rodrigues Leal, abducted Nov 2012, said “France is MUJAO’s enemy”; France next day vowed to punish MU- JAO. PM Tatam Ly 6 April resigned, Moussa Mara appointed as replacement; Mara 11 April formed new cabinet with 31 members but only 8 newcomers. President 23 April appointed former PM Modibo Keïta high representative for inter-Malian dialogue; PM Mara 29 April pledged to revive peace talks, did not give timeframe.

March 2014

Africa

Mali

Increasing fears peace talks may be compromised as several armed groups, including MNLA and wing of Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA), 13-14 March and 20-21 March refused to attend workshops co-organised by MINUSMA and national reconciliation ministry, denouncing govt’s unwillingness to comply with provisions of June 2013 Ouagadougou agreement (including release of prisoners and freedom of movement for armed groups). Former MNLA leader Ibrahim ag Mohamed Assaleh 9 March announced creation of new dissident movement Coordination of People of Azawad, deepening leadership and legitimacy crisis affecting Tuareg and Arab armed groups. Security situation in north continued to deteriorate: Mourabitoune jihadi group affiliated to Mokhtar Belmokhtar 2 March claimed responsibility for attacks on Timbuktu and Gao; group of unidentified armed men 4 March shot at local MNLA commander; rockets fired at Gao 7 March; military vehicle near Ansongo hit landmine 9 March; 4 Chadian peacekeepers wounded when MINUSMA vehicle hit landmine between Aguelhok and Tessalit 16 March. French army 5 March announced 10 jihadis killed early month in north, including former MUJAO leader Omar Ould Hamaha; 20 March said at least 40 killed in recent operations. Investigators 2 March discovered body of Colonel Youssouf Traoré, former member of junta, possibly killed late Sept 2013 after clash with former junta leader General Sanogo. National Assembly 27 March voted to create High Court of justice to try cases of high treason for heads of state and ministers; court expected to indict former President Touré.

February 2014

Africa

Mali

Talks between govt and armed groups, stalled since Nov 2013, resumed 13 Feb in Bamako; parties 15 Feb reached agreement on cantonment but no precise timeframe yet; Arab Armed Group (MAA) left negotiations. Insecurity remained high: rockets launched on Gao 13 Feb, Timbuktu 16 Feb. 31 Tuareg civilians killed 6 Feb near Tamkoutat, Gao region; MNLA claimed responsibility. MUJAO affiliate Yoro Abdousalam claimed responsibility for 10 Feb abduction of 4 ICRC staff. Further fighting reported in Tin-Hama near Ansongo 10 Feb. Court mid Feb ordered arrest of prominent military figures connected to former junta. Médecins du Monde* vehicle 26 Feb ran over landmine in Kidal, leaving 2 injured.

January 2014

Africa

Mali

Security in North remained volatile: gunmen 11 Jan attacked military camp in Aguelhok, repelled by MINUSMA peacekeepers; 5 peacekeepers injured by landmine 20 Jan near Kidal. French forces 23 Jan killed 11 jihadis north of Timbuktu; 2 bombs exploded 24 Jan in Kidal. Despite incidents, France pressed for reducing contingent in N Mali; following popular discontent govt and France postponed signing new military agreement initially planned 22 Jan. MNLA spokesperson 8 Jan reiterated 22 Dec statement by MNLA, HCUA and MAA accusing govt of not respecting 18 June Ouagadougou agreement, called for organisation of inclusive peace talks. Algerian authorities mid Jan organised meeting with armed groups and govt ahead of President IBK’s official visit to Algiers, concluding with agreement to establish bilateral N Mali committee; MAA and MNLA declined to attend, accused Algiers of inviting “wrong” pro-govt MAA representatives. Ruling “Rally for Mali” (RPM) candidate Issaka Sidibé elected president of National Assembly 22 Jan where, following Supreme Court’s 31 Dec release of legislative election results, President IBK’s RPM has 66 of 147 seats.

December 2013

Africa

Mali

Legislative elections held 15 Dec without major incidents but with low turnout (37%); president and allies retained comfortable majority in parliament. Violence and insecurity in north contin- ued; 3 Fulani herders killed in Goundam 4 Dec; 6 ethnic Arabs allegedly abducted Feb by Malian army in Timbuktu found dead 9 Dec. Militants launched several attacks including bombings in Menaka 1 Dec against MINUSMA Nigerien contingent, 1 killed. French troops 10 Dec killed 19 Islamist militants near Timbuktu; car bomb in Kidal killed 2 MINUSMA Senegalese soldiers 14 Dec. Authorities 4 Dec found mass grave in Diago near Bamako, believed to be “red beret” soldiers who participated in April 2012 counter-coup. Govt 27 Dec announced plans to investigate former president Touré for high treason. Chadian, French MINUSMA soldiers 28-29 Dec discovered nearly 6 tonnes of explosives in arms cache 150km SE of Tessalit. French Defence Minister 31 Dec visited Gao, said Mali almost secure, but pockets of fragility remain in Libya, N Niger and Chad.

November 2013

Africa

Mali

MNLA representatives 29 Nov announced end to 5-month- old ceasefire, return to war following 28 Nov clash between security forces and several hundred Tuareg demonstrators blocking Kidal airport to prevent PM Tatam Ly visit. Other MNLA officials denied going back to war but warned against another incident. 2 RFI journalists abducted and killed 2 Nov near Kidal; drug trafficker and former AQIM affiliate Baye Ag Bakabo named 13 Nov as main suspect. MNLA and Malian army clashed east of Menaka 8 Nov leaving 3 dead. MNLA vacated public buildings in Kidal 14 Nov. National Conference on the North held in Bamako 1- 3 Nov, legislative elections held 24 Nov in relative calm despite minor incidents: MNLA supporters in Kidal threw stones at voters arriving to cast ballots; unidentified assailants stole ballots in Goundam. Clashes between Tuaregs and Peuls north of Gao 23 Nov left uncertain number dead; officials said clashes unrelated to elections.. General Sanogo arrested 27 Nov, charged with abduction; several hundred protesters demanding his release in Kati and Bamako 29 Nov.

October 2013

Africa

Mali

Security in north deteriorated: first-ever suicide attack on MINUSMA peacekeepers 23 Oct near Tessalit killed 7; 1 killed in MUJAO mortar attacks on Gao 7 Oct. Demonstrators gathered in Gao 10 Oct to protest insecurity, weak state presence. France, MINUSMA, Malian army 24 Oct launched joint military operation “Hydre” “to avoid revival of terrorist movements” in north. Govt 2 Oct released 23 war prisoners; MNLA 5 Oct announced 3 main armed groups resumed participation in peace talks; IBK 29 Oct lifted arrest warrants against 4 Tuareg leaders in name of “national reconciliation”. Political situation in Bamako remained tense: govt 3 Oct launched Operation Saniya to retake control of barracks in Kati, following late Sept mutiny; bodies of 4 soldiers, including General Sanogo’s head of security, found at barracks; court 31 Oct summoned Sanogo over alleged violence involving men under his command.

September 2013

Africa

Mali

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK) inaugurated 4 Sept, 5 Sept named Oumar Tatam Ly new PM. Tatam Ly 8 Sept named new cabinet, including former cabinet director of coup leader Captain Sanogo, Gen Moussa Sinko Coulibaly, as new interior minister; opposition leaders protested against Sinko Coulibaly keeping position in new govt. Tensions in north increased: 29 Sept suicide attack in Timbuktu left at least 2 civilians and 4 jihadis dead, as well as 6 Malian soldiers injured. President IBK 26 Sept called for Sahara countries to create regional multilateral rapid reaction force to respond to ongoing Islamist threat across region. Armed clashes 15 Sept near Léré between Malian army and MNLA, reasons unclear. Following MNLA suspension of participation in peace process 26 Sept, grenade attack 27 Sept wounded 2 soldiers in Kidal. 29-30 Sept clashes between MNLA and Malian army in Kidal left at least 3 injured. Delegation of ministers visiting Kidal 15 Sept pelted with stones. Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA), High Council for Unity of Azawad (HCUA), Coordination of Patriotic Resistance Forces and Movements (CM-FPR) and MNLA 17 Sept agreed on joint public statement; also agreed to meet regularly to discuss grievances and make progress toward settlement of final peace agreement.

August 2013

Africa

Mali

Second round of presidential polls took place 11 Aug in positive climate despite minor incidents; Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (IBK) declared winner 16 Aug with 77.6% of vote, 46% turnout. Interim President Traoré 15 Aug promoted April 2012 coup leader Captain Sanogo to 4-star general; Minister of Territorial Administration Colonel Sinko Coulibaly and Colonel Dacko, who headed military operations in north, also promoted to rank of general; unclear whether President-elect IBK approved decision. Govt 28 Aug announced Sanogo no longer in charge of army reform committee.

July 2013

Africa

Mali

Presidential elections held 28 July without major incidents, 50% turnout despite Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) threat to attack election offices and polling stations; former PM Boubacar Keïta leading in results, possibility of outright first-round victory; supporters of Soumaïla Cissé’s URD 30 July accused other parties of “ballot stuffing”; PARENA candidate Tiébilé Dramé 18 July withdrew from race after his request to postpone polls denied. Army re-deployment in north continued: Waraba battalion arrived in Tessalit, Aguelhok 27 July. Ongoing tensions in Kidal region: 11 July visit to Kidal town by regional governor aborted for security reasons, took place 15 July; at least 1 killed 18 July in intercommunal clashes; authorities 20 July reported several election workers kidnapped by unknown gunmen. Mixed commission bringing together army, MNLA/ HCUA, Operation Serval and ECOWAS representatives 4 July agreed to set up cantonment camp for MNLA forces near Kidal. Nigerian govt 18 July announced withdrawal of troops from UN mission (MINUSM) citing need for troops at home. French hostage Philippe Verdon, abducted Nov 2011 in Hombori, found dead.

June 2013

Africa

Mali

Direct talks between govt and TuaregMNLA (NationalMovement for Liberation of Azawad)/HCUA (High Council for Unity of Azawad) began 8 June; preliminary agreement signed 18 June, included provisions for immediate ceasefire, stationing and disarming of armed groups in Kidal region, and facilitation of elections. Overall level of violence and armed attacks decreased throughout month but military operations still ongoing. Communal tensions also remain high; Amnesty International highlighted serious human rights abuses committed by security forces and different armed groups since beginning of Operation Serval in Jan 2013. MNLA 2 June arrested several alleged spies, expelled dozens of “black Africans” from Kidal. UNSC report 10 June expressed  worries about enduring insecurity in north and limited progress toward reconciliation and extension of state authority; 26 June authorised deployment of UN peacekeeping force beginning 1 July. In bid to promote reconciliation between opposing factions in security forces President Traoré 26 June said all soldiers incarcerated since 30 April will be released. Electoral commission (CENI) president 27 June expressed doubts over feasibility of holding  elections 28 July. 

May 2013

Africa

Mali

Low-frequency attacks continued in north. MUJAO 6 and 10 May claimed responsibility for attacks, bombing attempts in Gao, Gossi (Timbuktu region) and Hamakouladji (Gao region). Clashes between Tuareg and Arab communities reported in Ber (60km from Gao) and Anefis (90km from Kidal); French forces reportedly intervened 18 May to remove Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA) from Anefis. Govt 2 May appointed Colonel Adama Kamissoko as new governor of Kidal. Sons of Ifogha Amenokal (traditional leader) 19 May created new Tuareg movement Higher Council for Unity of Azawad (HCUA) and dissolved Islamic Council of Azawad (MIA). International donor conference in Brussels pledged €3.25bn for Mali; China 24 May said it wants to contribute 500 troops to newly-created UN peacekeeping mission. Burkinabé President Compaoré 27 May began mediation to resolve Kidal crisis; MIA said it would join talks in Ouagadagou; govt special envoy Tiebilé Dramé 29 May met with MAA delegation in Nouakchott. 1 French soldier injured during attack on convoy in Kidal 28 May.

April 2013

Africa

Mali

Suicide attacks in northern towns continued. French/Malian troops 1 April killed 3 alleged jihadis in Timbuktu; 10 April arrested Tarkint mayor Baba Ould Cheikh near Gao for suspected links with Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and drug trafficking; 6-11 April led Operation Gustav to comb areas near Gao. Suicide attack in Kidal killed 3 Chadian soldiers 12 April; roadside bomb killed French soldier 29 April. EUTM-Mali 2 April started operations in Koulikoro; expected to last 15 months. UNSC 25 April approved deployment of force comprising 11,200 military personnel, 1,440 international police, to take over from 6,000-member African Union mission AFISMA on 1 July, security permitting. French and Chadian troops early-month began drawdown; France said would reduce forces on the ground to 2,000 by July and 1,000 by year-end; Chad indicated it may redeploy troops as part of UN-led force. MNLA 24 April said group rejects elections and disarming before talks with Bamako.

March 2013

Africa

Mali

Military operations targeting Islamist militant groups in north intensified, including fierce clashes in Gao as Islamist rebel attack repelled 24 March; clashes ongoing in Timbuktu following suicide bomb attack on army checkpoint 30 March. Chadian army 2 March said ex-AQIM emir Mokhtar Belmokthar killed. French joint chiefs of staff head Guillaud 4 March said AQIM “Sahara emir” Abou Zeid “probably” killed in airstrike late Feb; media 6 March reported Ansar Dine leader Iyad ag Ghali likely killed during fighting in Tigarghar mountains. French Defence Minister Le Drian 7 March visited forces in Ametettai valley, said French forces “dismantled AQIM base”, killed more than 150 rebels in Gao vicinity since Feb; President Hollande 6 March said final phase of military intervention, troop drawdown to begin in April. French FM Fabius 14 March called on UNSC to deploy peacekeepers; UNSG Ban 26 March report to UNSC proposed 11,000-strong multidimensional integrated stabilization mission. Regional states confirmed plans to send troops to join regional force. MNLA 5 March called on ICC to investigate army crimes; UN OHCHR 12 March issued communiqué accusing Malian army of reprisals against Tuareg, Arab and Peul communities, increasing fears of inter-ethnic backlash. Journalist Boukary Daou arrested for publishing article criticising coup leader Captain Sanogo’s salary; arrest prompted media strike, concern over junta influence in Bamako. Govt 6 March announced creation of Dialogue and Reconciliation Commission.

February 2013

Africa

Mali

Military operations against Islamic militants in north continued: French air force 3 Feb bombarded arms caches and suspected Islamist training camps in Kidal area; clashes in Ifoghas mountain range near Kidal left 1 French soldier, 20 suspected militants dead 18 Feb; 23 Chadian soldiers, 93 militants killed in clashes near Tessalit 22-24 Feb. Suicide bomber killed at least 7 in Kidal 26 Feb. Senior AQIM commander Abu Zeid, 40 other militants, reportedly killed 25 Feb in Tigargara. Situation in Bamako also remained tense: green beret soldiers loyal to coup leader Captain Sanogo 8 Feb clashed with red beret soldiers loyal to ousted President Touré leaving at least 3 dead, 13 injured; PM Cissoko 15 Feb said red beret corps will be restructured. Car bomb exploded near French military camp in Kidal 21 Feb; MUJAO claimed responsibility for 8 and 10 Feb suicide attacks on Malian soldiers in Gao. Fears of inter-ethnic backlash increased following reports ethnic Tuareg and Arabs summarily executed by Malian army; Human Rights Watch urged govt to prosecute soldiers suspected of rights violations. French President Hollande 2 Feb visited country, said terrorism has been pushed back but not defeated; 6 Feb asked UNSC to deploy UN peacekeepers. French FM Fabius 6 Feb said French forces may begin pull-out in March. EU 16 Feb said it will disburse €20 million in addition to €250 million already earmarked; approved deployment of mission to train Malian army.

January 2013

Africa

Mali

France 11 Jan launched “Operation Serval” intervention to oust Islamists in northern Mali, backed by African-led mission (AFISMA) deployed 17 Jan, prompted hopes area will return to govt control, but also fears military approach will divert attention from political process in Bamako and risk further destabilisation, regional spillover, and possible backlash. French forces quickly advanced north: at least 100 Islamists, 60 Malian troops, 1 French soldier, 10 civilians killed in battle of Konna; at least 50 Islamists, 3 soldiers reportedly killed 14-21 Jan in battle of Diabaly. French/Malian forces 26 Jan took control of Gao, 27 Jan captured Timbuktu, 30 Jan captured last rebel stronghold of Kidal. U.S. air force 22 Jan began airlift of French mechanised infantry units; several EU states pledged logistical/ material support; French ground troops expected to swell to 3,700 total. UN 31 Jan said considering deploying up to 5,000 peacekeepers when Operation Serval is over. Rights groups late-month accused Malian troops of executing several Tuaregs and Arabs in Sévaré. Leader of Ansar Dine dissident faction, Algabass Ag Intallah, 24 Jan announced creation of Islamic Movement for Azawad; said group ready to engage in peace talks and fight Ansar Dine.

December 2012

Africa

Mali

UNSC 20 Dec unanimously authorised deployment of International Support Mission in Mali (MISMA) troops but urged more efforts toward political reconciliation, elections, army training. Junta 10-11 Dec reportedly forced PM Cheick Modibo Diarra to resign; interim President Traoré 12 Dec appointed Diango Sissoko as new PM. Sissoko 15 Dec named new govt but military still in charge of defence, justice, interior ministries. Foreign Minister Tieman Coulibaly said elections not possible until north regained and Islamists defeated. French Defence Minister Le Drian 24 Dec said military intervention could happen early 2013; Le Figaro reported General François Lecointre will head EU training mission (EUTM Mali) set to be deployed early 2013. Representatives of MNLA Tuareg rebels met with ECOWAS mediator Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan 14 Dec as part of regional tour by group, 21 Dec signed deal with Ansar Dine in Algiers agreeing to start negotiations with govt. Head of al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) Moulathamine brigade, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, 8 Dec announced creation of new “blood signatories” group (see Algeria); AQIM emir Abou Zeid 25 posted video accusing France of blocking negotiations to release hostages. Islamists, reportedly comprised of Libyan extremists and Mali-based jihadis, 9 Dec announced creation of new “Ansar al-Sharia” group in Gao. U.S., UN mid-month listed MUJAO as terrorist movement. MUJAO 21 Dec reportedly amputated 2 people in Gao, 27 Dec took control of Halil town in Kidal region; Ansar Dine 23 Dec destroyed 3 mausoleums in Timbuktu.

November 2012

Africa

Mali

ECOWAS heads of state 11 Nov agreed to deploy 3,300 troops for one year to take back Islamist-held north, 26 Nov sent plan to UNSC for approval; UNSG Ban 29 Nov urged caution, said military intervention should be last resort. AU acting president Yayi Boni 30 Nov said disappointed with UNSG Ban’s report, urged immediate action. UN Special Envoy for Sahel Romano Prodi 19 Nov said intervention unlikely before Sept 2013. AFRICOM Gen Carter Ham 14 Nov said U.S. ready to consider requests for military support; EU FMs 19 Nov agreed to send 250 military advisors to support African-led intervention. Diplomatic efforts to resolve crisis continued: rebel Ansar Dine (AD) delegation 4 Nov met with Burkinabè FM and mediator Bassolé in Ouagadougou, 6 Nov met with President Compaoré and MNLA Tuareg rebels delegation, said ready to cease hostilities, renounce terrorism; transitional govt expected to meet with MNLA delegation in Ouagadougou 3 Dec. Conflicting statements throughout month on intention to implement Sharia in territories under AD control suggested internal divisions within group. Media 4 Nov reported representatives of key AD leader Iyad Ag Ghali in Algiers to negotiate “rupture with AQIM” (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) with Algerian govt. Fighting continued: following 16-19 Nov clashes between MNLA and Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) near Gao, MUJAO 20 Nov seized Ménaka. MNLA 27 Nov withdrew from Leré, near Mauritanian border; AD 28 Nov reportedly took town. MUJAO 20 Nov abducted French national in Diema, near Mauritania-Senegal border. AQIM’s Sahara emirate 28 Nov announced creation of 6th brigade composed mainly of Tuaregs to be led by El Kairouani Abu Abdelhamid al-Kidali, expected to be active in area surrounding Kidal Aguelhok and Tigherghar mountain range.

October 2012

Africa

Mali

Planning for military intervention in Islamist-held north continued as UN 12 Oct gave ECOWAS, AU 45-day deadline to set out “means and modalities” for intervention. AU appointed former Guinean transitional president and military strongman Gen Sekouba Konaté to make proposed West African force “operational”; international experts met in Bamako 31 Oct to discuss intervention plans. Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) 29 Oct vowed to “take Bamako in 24 hours” if international forces deployed. Diplomatic efforts to resolve crisis also continued: AU 26 Oct named former Burundian president Buyoya as High Representative for Mali and Sahel, 24 Oct lifted Mali’s suspension from organisation; UN 10 Oct named former Italian PM Romano Prodi as Special Envoy for Sahel. Burkinabè FM and mediator Djibril Bassolé 9 Oct presented new National Movement for Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) political platform now claiming “right to self-determination” instead of “secession”. EU FMs 15 Oct commissioned plan to deploy some 150 military personnel to train Malian army. 4,000 United Front for Safeguarding Democracy and Republic (FDR) supporters demonstrated in Bamako to demand liberation of northern Mali; 2,000 Coordination of Patriotic Organisations in Mali (COPAM) supporters 18 Oct staged counter-protests against plans for foreign intervention. Armed men in military fatigues reportedly killed several Tuareg civilians near Diabaly 24 Oct; MNLA demanded explanation from Bamako. Guinean govt 17 Oct authorised arms shipment bound for Mali, previously blocked because of security concerns.

September 2012

Africa

Mali

Security situation continued to deteriorate, prompting fears of renewed conflict. President Traoré 4 Sept formally requested ECOWAS military intervention to secure transitional institutions, reclaim north; ECOWAS, transitional govt 23 Sept agreed to deploy 3,300-strong force. Demonstrators in Bamako 28-29 Sept protested against foreign intervention; international community remained divided on military intervention at UN special session on Mali 26 Sept. Security forces 8 Sept killed 16 unarmed Muslim preachers in Diabali; Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) swore to take revenge. MUJWA 1 Sept took Douentza town in central region Segou, sparking fears UNESCO-listed city Jenné could be next; 2 Sept executed Algerian diplomat Tahar Touati kidnapped in Gao (see Algeria). Human Rights Watch accused Islamists in north of becoming “increasingly repressive” in enforcement of Sharia. Islamists 15 Sept destroyed Cheikh el-Kébir mausoleum 330km north of Gao. AQIM leader Nabil Makloufi, in charge of north Mali/Sahara region, killed 8 Sept in car accident between Gao-Timbuktu. ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda early Sept said mission sent to investigates war crimes/crimes against humanity. Military coup leader Captain Sanogo 26 Sept promoted to Commander; same day shoot-out in Bamako police barracks between officers reportedly upset at colleagues perceived as too close to junta injured at least 2.

August 2012

Africa

Mali

ECOWAS military chiefs 16 Aug agreed to send high-level political mission to Mali, Algeria, Mauritania to “facilitate” deployment/operations of 3,000-strong ECOWAS Mission in Mali (MICEMA); several countries including Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso and Nigeria pledged to contribute troops.ECOWAS 22 Aug urged govt to “re-establish territorial integrity”. UNSC 12 Aug called on military to refrain from interfering in political process, 10 Aug encouraged appointment of unity govt, expeditious holding of elections, expressed concern over increased terrorist threat, abuses. Negotiations over unity govt continued; 33 ministers appointed to date, including figures from previous regime; increasing worries over “Islamisation trend” following 21 Aug creation of religious affairs ministry. Burkinabé media- tion team 7 Aug visited Gao, Kidal to meet MUJAO, Ansar Dine respectively. 6 convicted 28 Aug of May attack on interim President Traoré. Tensions within army continued as green berets loyal to junta leader Sanogo 2 Aug arrested elite red beret members loyal to ousted President Touré. MUJWA 5 Aug violently dispersed youth demonstrating in Gao against MUJWA intention to chop off suspected thief ’s hand, 10 Aug declared itself in charge of imposing Sharia in Gao, 22 Aug announced banning of “profane music”. Niafunké residents protested mid-month against MNLA/ Ansar-Dine rebels accused of setting up extortion rackets, restrictions on freedom, at least 2 injured. ICC team 31 Aug arrived to investigate possible war crimes.

July 2012

Africa

Mali

Interim President Dioncounda Traoré 27 July returned to Bamako, announced creation of new transitional institutions; PM Cheick Modibo Diarra 28 July refused to resign. Islamist rebel groups now control north after 11 July ousting of MNLA Tuaregs from last stronghold; MNLA said no longer seeking independent state but rather “Quebec-style autonomy”. Self-defence groups Liberation Forces of North Mali (FLN), Ganda-Koy/Ganda-Izo militias, Alliance of Timbuktu Region Communities, Armed Forces Against Occupation (FACO) and Circle for Reflection and Action (CRA) 21 July announced creation of new front to liberate North. U.S. Asst Sec for African Affairs Carson 19 July met with transitional authorities, urged authorities to accept ECOWAS intervention force. Transitional govt 9 July announced creation of 1,200-strong elite corps to safeguard institutions. Algerian security forces 23 July killed 20 suspected MUJWA militants near Tinzawaten; MUJWA 19 July freed 3 Western hostages abducted 10 months ago, still holding 4 Algerian hostages. Director of daily L’Indépendent, Saouti Haidara, arrested 12 July.

June 2012

Africa

Mali

Support and follow-up group meeting in Abidjan 7 June demanded immediate dissolution of military junta. ECOWAS, AU 14 June called for UN military intervention; UNSC 18 June said willing to discuss backing of African intervention force. Following failure of negotiations MNLA, Ansar Dine clashed 7-8 June near Kidal, 13 June near Timbuktu. MNLA 27 June lost Gao HQ to MUJWA, Timbuktu base 29 June to Ansar Dine. Ansar Dine 18 June met with Burkina Faso president and regional mediator Blaise Compaoré, agreed to talks on crisis, 30 June destroyed several mausoleums in Timbuktu. Govt 9 June announced creation of committee for army reform incorporating junta elements.

May 2012

Africa

Mali

ECOWAS refused to accept decision by convention of pro-junta associations and parties naming Captain Sanogo as interim president at end of 40-day transition period prompting pro-junta demonstrators to storm presidential palace 21 May, wounding interim President Traoré; ECOWAS reached deal giving Sanogo status of ex-president in exchange for his acceptance of Traoré as interim president for 1 year. Algeria 1 May launched airstrike against Movement for Unicity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) convoy near Tinzawaten, killed 20. New armed group, Republican Movement for Restoration of Azawad (MRRA), reportedly formed 19 May, composed of Songhai, Fulani, Tuareg and Arabs; stated aim to recover Azawad from rebels. MNLA spokesman 1 June said negotiations with Islamist militant rebel group Ansar Dine to establish Azawad Republic failed. AQIM/ Ansar Dine started enforcing Sharia in Timbuktu, attacked holy Muslim Sufi site; foreign, including South Asian, fighters reportedly joined AQIM ranks mid-May. Dispute over land/grazing rights between Fula and Dogon ethnic groups along Burkina Faso border left at least 25 dead 24 May.

April 2012

Africa

Mali

Following widespread condemnation of March military coup, military junta 7 April transferred power to civilian govt headed by Parliament Speaker Traoré in exchange for amnesty for mutineers; confusion over who is in charge as junta mid-April arrested several high-level political figures, continued to exercise control over state media. Soldiers loyal to deposed President Touré 30 April attempted counter-coup, foiled by junta soldiers; several dead. ECOWAS 27 April announced deployment of 3,000 troops, one-year transition instead of 40 days initially agreed with junta; Captain Sanogo 29 April said violation of agreement; fears of further unrest at Kati military garrison. National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) 5 April announced end of military operations, 6 April proclaimed liberation of Azawad state; AU rejected declaration of independence; Traoré 12 April threatened to launch “total war” on Tuareg rebels and Islamist militias in North, hundreds of northern youths gathered in Bamako 6 April to demand weapons to fight rebellion; UNSG Ban 16 April said urgent action needed to address “cascading crisis in Sahel”. Fol- lowing fall of Timbuktu to Islamist militia Ansar Dine and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) early April, newly-formed National Front for the Liberation of Azawad (FLNA) Arab militia 27 April said it took Timbuktu but 29 April exited city following threat of “bloodbath” by AQIM. Algerian army 29 April launched airstrike against AQIM splinter group Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) responsible for 5 April abduction of Algerian diplomats in Gao, 20 dead.

March 2012

Africa

Mali

President Touré overthrown in army coup 22 March, constitution suspended; coup followed 20-21 March mutiny in Kati garrison, Feb-March protests demanding better weapons for soldiers fighting rebellion in north; Captain Amadou Sanogo named head of military junta. AU, EU condemned coup, World Bank suspended aid; political parties 24 March ordered renegade soldiers back to barracks; ECOWAS 27 March suspended Mali, heads of state visit initially scheduled 29 March postponed following pro-junta protests in Bamako. Sanogo 1 April said constitution would be reinstated. MNLA Tuareg rebels 10-11 March took strategic town of Tessalit, 31 March took Kidal, 30 March took key garrison town of Gao aided by new rebel group Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA), 1 April took Timbuktu; army activated Peul/Songhai self-defence militias Ganda Koy, Ganda Izo to fight rebels; Ganda Izo leader Amadou Diallo and dozen fighters killed in Tinahama late March. Govt troops reportedly beaten back at Tinzawaten, Aguelhok, Kidal by Islamist rebel group Ansar Dine, headed by 1990 Tuareg rebellion leader Iyad ag Ghaly and accused of links with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). MNLA mid-March distanced itself from Ansar Dine, said only seeking independence of Azawad, following 11 March video showing Ansar Dine assault on Aguelhok, Ansar Dine declaration of intent to impose Sharia law. Mauritanian air force 11 March launched air strike against suspected AQIM convoy near Timbuktu following exchange of hostages 10 March, 2 civilians injured.

February 2012

Africa

Mali

Tuareg rebellion intensified as National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) fighters 7 Feb attacked military outpost in Tinzawaten, 19 Feb attacked Hombori town, leaving 1 dead. Army 10 Feb bombarded rebels in Kidal, 14 Feb bombarded Tessalit; MNLA 29 Feb led assault to take back Tessalit. UN said over 130,000 displaced by rebellion; crisis prompted calls for postponement of presidential election scheduled 29 April. Suspected MNLA alliance with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb confirmed following summary executions of 95 govt fighters in Aguelhok 24 Jan; MNLA reiterated it has no links with terrorist group. Tuareg/ Arab populations in South, Bamako fled throughout month as clashes exacerbated intercommunal tensions. France, Algeria early Feb called for immediate ceasefire, dialogue; MNLA refused.

January 2012

Africa

Mali

Fears regional spillover from Libyan conflict could spark new Tuareg rebellion as National Movement for Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) Tuareg rebels reportedly backed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and fighters who served in Libyan army staged series of attacks mid-late Jan on towns in north/north-east: govt responded by bombarding rebel position in Menaka 17 Jan; army said 45 rebels killed, 2 soldiers dead, 2,300 people fled into Mauritania. AQIM 12 Jan warned France, UK, Holland, Sweden not to attempt rescue operation for hostages in Mali, said seeking peaceful solution. Former PMs Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, Modibo Sidibe, and Mountaga Tall, announced candidacy in 29 April presidential poll.

December 2011

Africa

Mali

Army 20 Dec announced Algerian troops crossed into northern Mali to assist in counterterrorism operations against groups affiliated to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). AQIM claimed responsibility for 23-25 Nov abductions of 5 Europeans which left 1 dead. Following raid by Western-Sahara Polisario separatists that saw 1 killed, 3 kidnapped, govt 17 Dec said Polisario incursions on Malian territory would no longer be tolerated. Touareg rebels 22 Dec met President Touré, said ready to work with govt.

November 2011

Africa

Mali

Army Chief Pousiougou 21 Nov insisted on need for joint Mali, Algeria, Mauritania and Niger action against Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) at meeting of country chiefs of staff. EU aid commissioner Piebalgs 23 Nov promised govt €62mn aid to improve security in north. 2 French citizens abducted 24 Nov by suspected AQIM gunmen in Hombori, first such kidnapping south of Niger river; 3 tourists kidnapped, 1 killed 25 Nov in Timbuktu.

October 2011

Africa

Mali

Supreme Court 13 Oct ruled against opposition Solidarity for Democracy and Independence request that it act to redress lack of opposition representation in election commission. Concern over possible Tuareg rebellion stoked by reported return of over 400 fighters from Libya, coinciding with series of rebel attacks in North.

August 2011

Africa

Mali

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb reported 9 Aug to have returned to Wagadou forest near Mauritanian border. Hundreds of Tuaregs reportedly returning to Mali and Niger from fighting in Libya, raising fears of destabilisation.

June 2011

Africa

Mali

17 killed 24 June as Malian, Mauritanian forces raided al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) camp in Wagadou, near Mauritanian border. Raid followed 13 June announcement of increased cooperation with Mauritania in fight against AQIM.

April 2011