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

Deteriorated Situation

Political tensions surged as govt took series of authoritarian decisions, closing political space and putting inter-Malian dialogue at risk; civilians continued to be targeted by conflict actors.

Govt suspended civil society activities and elections. Series of decisions highlighted govt’s increasing authoritarian turn and caused tensions to soar. Authorities 10 April suspended all political activities of political parties and politically-oriented activities of associations until further notice; PM Maïga same day announced elections would be suspended until country regained political stability. Meanwhile, authorities following day announced suspension of all media coverage related to political parties. In response, numerous parties and civil society groups 22 April submitted appeal to Supreme Court, and others announced intention to boycott inter-Malian dialogue (see below) until restrictions removed.

Phase one of Inter-Malian dialogue commenced. Communal level discussions took place 13-15 April. However, concerns remained over inclusiveness and legitimacy of process with neither separatist armed groups of Permanent Strategic Framework (CSP) nor jihadist groups taking part, and other key political actors boycotting dialogue. 

Amid jihadist attacks and counterinsurgency operations, violence left high toll on civilians. Clashes between armed forces, Russian paramilitary Africa Corps (formerly known as Wagner Group) and militants continued. Notably, in centre, al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 7 April attacked army and Russian paramilitaries near Sarakala village, Segou region, resulting in at least six militant fatalities. Govt forces 22-23 April conducted operation south of Kalifaré, Timbuktu region, killing 29 JNIM militants. In Menaka region, army 29 April announced killing of senior Islamic State Sahel province commander Abu Huzeifa near Indelimane village. Meanwhile, JNIM and CSP 5 April clashed near Nampala village, Mopti region, resulting in at least 23 CSP and nineteen JNIM fighters killed. Army and Africa Corps reportedly involved in several attacks against civilians with forces alleged to have killed up to 26 civilians in Mopti and Segou regions in incidents 3, 7 and 12 April. Suspected JNIM militants 16 April kidnapped 110 civilians aboard public bus between Bandiagara and Bankass towns, Mopti region; dozens of hostages reportedly released 24 April after local authorities allegedly signed informal agreements with jihadist group.

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In The News

15 jun 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 feb 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 okt 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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