Since 2012, Mali has faced a volatile crisis as political armed groups, including ethnic based movements, jihadist groups and transnational criminal networks, fight for hegemony and the control of trafficking routes in the North. The 2015 peace agreement remains very difficult to implement and signatory groups still resort to violence to settle differences. Jihadist violence against security forces is increasing and militants have gone rural to capitalise on local conflicts and the absence of the State to secure safe havens and new recruits. Mali’s instability has regional consequences as violent extremism spills into neighbouring countries.  Through field research, timely reports and advocacy with regional and local actors, Crisis Group seeks to broaden understanding of the complex roots of violence in Mali via local, gendered and regional lenses and to find solutions to problems of governance.

CrisisWatch Mali

Unchanged Situation

Industrial action compelled authorities to back down over union leader’s arrest; tensions rose among ruling powers.

Union action forced govt to reverse arrest, but civil liberties crackdown continued. Authorities 5 June arrested Hamadoun Bah, head of banking union and deputy leader of country’s largest union, on forgery charges amid union dispute; unions criticised arrest, which some see as likely tied to Bah’s criticism of justice system. Following arrest, bank and gas stations 6-10 June held strikes backed by other unions, demanding unionist’s release. After apparent intervention by President Col. Goïta, authorities 10 June freed Bah. Meanwhile, imprisoned former head of state security Kassoum Goïta and former colonel Alpha Yaya Sangaré remained missing; unidentified individuals 31 May abducted both men from cells. Security forces 8-27 June detained journalist after he covered small anti-govt demonstration in capital Bamako. Authorities 20 June arrested 11 political leaders at private meeting of alliance of political parties and civil society groups, following April suspension of political parties’ activities. 

Rifts between military authorities and civilian PM exposed. PM Maïga 18 June called for continued support to Goïta; in apparent sign of dissatisfaction, however, PM also endorsed M5-RFP political movement’s May statement criticising removal of M5-RFP ministers from office in July 2023 and military’s unilateral decision to prolong transition; move came after late May arrest of chargé de mission at Maïga’s office over his role in statement. Political tensions with opposition continued after govt-in-exile led by former supreme court lawyer Mohamed Chérif Koné formed late May, and Bamako court late May refused to dissolve opposition SADI party led by exiled activist Oumar Mariko; capacity for Koné and Mariko to mobilise major domestic opposition to military authorities remained remote.

Violence persisted across north and centre. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims 5 June claimed to have killed Islamic State Sahel Province commander in Fitili area, Gao region (north). Military 13 June reported repelling ambush near Douentza town, Douentza region (centre).

In another important development. Sweden 20 June announced closure of embassies in Bamako and Burkinabé capital Ouagadougou, establishing embassy covering regional activity in Senegalese capital Dakar

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In The News

26 Čer 2024
The jihadists have deeply ingrained themselves into the local landscape [in northern Mali]. [That] has made it much harder to uproot them. New York Times

Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim

Deputy Project Director, Sahel
15 Čer 2023
MONUSCO has largely failed [in DR Congo] because its deployment has not had a significant impact on security over the past decade. DW

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Project Director, Sahel
8 Úno 2023
The Malian army is now demonstrating its ability to organize complex operations, particularly in the center of the country. Le Monde

Ibrahim Maiga

Senior Adviser, Sahel
5 Říj 2022
What we see in Mali is that Russia does not bring more security or improvements in the situation. The Russian army in Ukraine is not doing well, and in Mali, the Wagner G... Foreign Policy

Rinaldo Depagne

Deputy Program Director, Africa & Project Director, West Africa

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