Escalating Tensions in Northern Mali Raise Concerns

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In recent developments, northern Mali has become the stage for clashes between the Malian army and armed groups. On Tuesday, September 12, the Permanent Strategic Framework (CSP), an alliance of armed groups, launched an offensive against the garrison town of Bourem, an attack that the Malian army claims to have repelled. This offensive resulted in dozens of casualties.

Simultaneously, the Jnim group has claimed responsibility for several attacks on army positions and a passenger transport boat on the Niger River. This resurgence of tensions is raising fears of a deteriorating situation. What, then, is the explanation for this escalation between Tuareg separatists and the Malian military authorities?

A Confluence of Events

Guillaume Soto-Mayor, a researcher associated with the Middle East Institute and a specialist in security and political issues in sub-Saharan Africa, sheds light on a confluence of events.

“The first, obviously,” he says, “is the persistent issues inherited from the Algiers Agreement and several peace processes that have been led by actors, both regionally and nationally, but have failed to yield results.”

“Lost Trust”

“In reality, we find ourselves in situations where the actors no longer trust each other. There are also significant politico-criminal issues and, of course, crucial security and humanitarian concerns that have exacerbated tensions between communities and individuals. To add to this, the inflammatory element of the current situation is the withdrawal of MINUSMA from Mali,” Guillaume Soto-Mayor concludes.

The situation in northern Mali has reached a critical juncture, with historical grievances, political complexities, criminal interests, and security challenges all contributing to the escalating tensions. The withdrawal of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has only added fuel to the fire, leaving the region on edge and prompting concerns about what the future holds. Efforts to address these complex issues and restore stability in the region are now more vital than ever.


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