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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

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.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

25 Sep 2020
Mali has a lot of issues related to the Sahel. Al-Jazeera

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Director, Sahel Project
19 Aug 2020
Eight years of effort, investment, presence to basically return to the situation of Mali at the time of the 2012 coup, with a confused situation in Bamako, more violent armed insurrections and increased inter-communal violence. France24

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Director, Sahel Project
7 Aug 2020
The composition of the national assembly is disputed. If the [Malian] president were to resign, it would mark a big jump into the void. The Economist

Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim

Consulting Analyst, Sahel
20 Jul 2020
[Mahmoud Dicko] has been able to position himself as this person who can channel the people's anger toward protest on several issues. Al Jazeera

Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim

Consulting Analyst, Sahel
4 Nov 2019
The main fault-line for conflict in the Mali-Niger border has shifted. A year ago, it was drawn between communities. Now it lies between militants loosely fighting under an IS banner and state forces. Twitter

Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel
22 Oct 2019
Les groupes djihadistes sont passés experts dans l’instrumentalisation des conflits pour mieux s'implanter. RFI

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Director, Sahel Project

Latest Updates

Statement / Africa

Mali : défaire le coup d’Etat sans revenir en arrière

Le 18 août 2020 au Mali, un coup d’Etat militaire intervient après deux mois de manifestations contre le président Keïta. Les acteurs maliens et leurs partenaires doivent restaurer l’ordre constitutionnel, sans se contenter de rétablir le système et de remettre en place les personnalités renversées, qui ont largement contribué à générer la crise.

Report / Africa

Speaking with the “Bad Guys”: Toward Dialogue with Central Mali’s Jihadists

War between the state and jihadists in central Mali has led to growing intercommunal violence. To spare civilians additional harm, the government should explore the possibility of talks with the insurgents about local ceasefires and humanitarian aid – while remaining open to broader discussions.

Also available in Français
Q&A / Africa

Centre du Mali : enrayer le nettoyage ethnique

Une attaque visant des populations peul dans la région de Mopti a fait au moins 134 morts le 23 mars, dernier épisode d'une série de violences intercommunautaires. Dans ce questions-réponses, notre directeur du projet Sahel Jean-Hervé Jézéquel appelle les autorités maliennes à enrayer l'engrenage du nettoyage ethnique.  

Also available in English
Report / Africa

Narcotrafic, violence et politique au Nord du Mali

Dans le Nord du Mali, un trafic de drogue particulièrement concurrentiel suscite de graves violences et entrave l’application de l’accord de paix de 2015. Le Mali et ses partenaires devraient chercher à réduire les effets les plus délétères du narcotrafic en démilitarisant ses acteurs.

Also available in English
Commentary / Africa

Mali’s Elections Are an Opportunity to Reboot the Peace Process

Inter-communal violence along the Niger-Mali border and a scattered jihadist presence have left large swathes of Mali insecure. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018 annual early-warning update for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges Mali’s next president to reinvigorate the Bamako peace agreement and embark on long-term structural reform.

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Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel