Internal Division Emerges Within Northern Mali Armed Groups as MSA Departs from Permanent Strategic Framework

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
3 Min Read

As renewed clashes unfold in Northern Mali between the Malian army and the Permanent Strategic Framework (CSP), divisions have become apparent within this coalition of armed groups signatory to the 2015 peace agreement.

For the past two weeks, the CSP, accusing the Malian army of violating the peace agreement, has taken up arms and attacked the Fama base in Bourem, followed by an assault on Léré eight days ago. However, in a recent statement released on Sunday, the Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA) distanced itself from this strategy and announced its departure from the CSP. The MSA had already disassociated itself from prior attacks and CSP’s statements.

Now, the rupture is definitive: the armed group hailing from the Ménaka region, near Niger, within the three-border zone, has left the coalition. The MSA has been on the frontlines for the past year and a half against the bloody offensives of the Islamic State group, which have claimed hundreds of lives. Today, the MSA’s stated priority is to combat the jihadist group. The MSA “cannot be engaged in a conflict other than the one it is waging against the perpetrators of mass civilian massacres,” according to Moussa Ag Acharatoumane, its secretary-general. He also laments that other armed groups within the CSP did not respond to his call to combat the Islamic State organization in Ménaka.

The MSA reiterates its commitment to the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement and thus chooses to remain an ally of the Malian Armed Forces and the “loyalist” faction of Gatia, led by General Gamou, which also operates in the regions of Ménaka and Gao.

Conversely, another faction of Gatia, led by its historical secretary-general, Fahad Ag Almahmoud, has firmly aligned itself with the CSP in a conflict it deems “orchestrated by the junta in power in Bamako.”

In light of these internal divisions, the situation in Northern Mali remains complex and precarious, with various armed groups pursuing divergent agendas in a region already struggling to find lasting stability.


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