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.
At Bamako’s request, the UN Security Council has begun drawing down the UN peacekeeping operation in Mali. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Richard Gowan and Daniel Forti explore the implications for blue helmet missions elsewhere on the continent.
UN Security Council ended UN mission at Bamako’s request, while Mali voters approved new Constitution in referendum, and jihadist violence continued in centre and north.
UN mission set to leave Mali after authorities revoked consent. Ahead of UN Security Council’s vote on renewal of UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA)’s mandate, FM Abdoulaye Diop 16 June requested MINUSMA’s departure “without delay”, citing “crisis of confidence” between authorities and decade-old mission. Permanent Strategic Framework (CSP), which gathers northern armed groups signatory to 2015 peace agreement, 21 June said departure of UN mission “without a credible alternative” would strike “fatal blow” to peace deal. UN Security Council 30 June terminated MINUSMA’s mandate, with mission to cease operations, transfer tasks and withdraw personnel by 31 December.
Voters approved new Constitution in referendum. Mali 18 June held constitutional referendum on new constitution strengthening presidential powers, providing amnesty for coup perpetrators, and potentially paving the way for Transitional President Col. Goïta to run in presidential election scheduled for Feb 2024. CSP members did not allow vote to proceed in Kidal town (north) under their control, while Malian civil society-led election observation mission 18 June said around 80 polling stations remained closed in Mopti region (centre) due to insecurity. Electoral authority in following days claimed turnout was 38% and 23 June said new constitution approved with 97% of vote. United Front Against the Referendum, made up of 21 political parties and civil society organisations, in following days denounced massive fraud and filed appeals to Constitutional Court.
Jihadist violence continued in centre and north. In Mopti (centre), Islamic State Sahel Province (IS Sahel) militants 3 June killed 15 pastoralists at Teberemt village, and al-Qaeda affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 6 June killed at least 10 Dan Na Ambassagou militiamen in ambush in Korn’Ga village. In north, JNIM and IS Sahel militants 3 June clashed in Tatakarat area, Gao region, leaving eight IS Sahel militants dead; JNIM militants next day ambushed IS Sahel unit in Timatalwayene area, Timbuktu region, killing ten. Also in Timbuktu, JNIM 9 June attacked MINUSMA patrol, killing one UN peacekeeper.
MONUSCO has largely failed [in DR Congo] because its deployment has not had a significant impact on security over the past decade.
The Malian army is now demonstrating its ability to organize complex operations, particularly in the center of the country.
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...
On 16 June, Bamako asked the UN Security Council to withdraw the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Jean-Hervé Jézéquel and Ibrahim Maïga look at the reasons behind the Malian authorities’ decision as well as its consequences.
Crisis-ridden Mali and Burkina Faso face jihadist insurgency and political turmoil. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2023 – Spring Update, Crisis Group outlines what the EU and its member states can do to prevent these two countries from falling into further regional isolation.
In a strategic shift, the Malian authorities have turned away from France and chosen Russia as their main military ally. Relations between Bamako and other Western and regional partners are also deteriorating. Mali and its partners should work to rebuild more balanced diplomatic relations.
The UK, Côte d’Ivoire and other nations plan to pull their troops out of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, clouding its future as it undergoes internal review. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts discuss the mission’s challenges and scenarios for what could come next.
The Malian government’s battle with jihadist insurgencies goes on after two coups in Bamako in the last two years. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2022 – Spring Update, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to endorse talks about a return to constitutional rule, increase support for civil society and back electoral reform initiatives.
In this episode of Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk with Sahel experts Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim and Richard Moncrieff about France’s announcement it will pull troops from Mali, and what the withdrawal means for the fighting against jihadist insurgents.
Authorities in Mali seem to be considering negotiations with Jamaat Nusratul Islam wal-Muslimin, the country’s largest Islamist insurgency. Pursuing talks will be a tall order, given the stakes and the group’s al-Qaeda connection. Both the government and the militants should begin with incremental steps.
In this episode of Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk with Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim, Crisis Group’s Sahel expert, about whether it is time for a new strategy in Mali as the government and its allies struggle against jihadist insurgents.
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