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Mali

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

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.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

24 Jul 2018
Jihadist groups present since the 2012 crisis in Mali exploited local unrest and the weak presence of the state in northern Mali to launch cross-border attacks against the Nigerien army... Despite direct support from Chadian troops since 2015 and closer collaboration with the Nigerian army, Nigerien forces have been unable to fully secure the border with Nigeria from attacks, including some linked to the Islamic State. Voice of America

Hannah Armstrong

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

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

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

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

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

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

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

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

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

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Deputy Project Director, West Africa

Latest Updates

Watch List 2018 – Second Update

Crisis Group’s second update to our Watch List 2018 includes entries on seizing a chance for peace in Mali, avoiding escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh, mitigating conflict in Syria’s peripheral regions, and helping Somalia overcome obstacles to reform. This annual early-warning report identifies conflict situations in which prompt action by the European Union and its member states would generate stronger prospects for peace.

Op-Ed / Africa

A la frontière Niger-Mali, le nécessaire dialogue avec les hommes en armes

La stratégie qui privilégie une option militaire disproportionnée à la frontière entre le Niger et le Mali fait peser un risque sur la région : celui de créer un nouveau foyer d’insurrection. C'est le constat que dresse l’International Crisis Group, qui fait une série de recommandations.

Originally published in Jeune Afrique

Commentary / Africa

The Sahel: Promoting Political alongside Military Action

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

Open Letter / Africa

Open Letter to the UN Security Council on Peacekeeping in Mali

To address growing violence in Mali that is undermining the Algeria-brokered peace accord, the UN Security Council should in June renew the mandate of the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) with stronger political and civil affairs components and a greater role for the peacekeepers in local reconciliation.

Also available in Français
Statement / Africa

Twelve Points for the New African Union Commission Chairperson

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

Also available in Français

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Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consultant, Sahel