A convoy of about 100 vehicles from the Malian army and their Russian allies from the Wagner Group departed from Gao on October 1st and is heading towards the Kidal region. However, the Permanent Strategic Framework (CSP) rebels reported that they attacked the convoy severely on Thursday morning in Tabankort.
The rebels of the Permanent Strategic Framework (CSP) claimed a major attack on the Fama-Wagner column on Thursday morning at around 7 a.m. near the town of Tabankort, over 200 kilometers north of Gao. For the first time since Monday, both sides have not limited themselves to distant exchanges of fire. The CSP speaks of “very intense fighting,” with “spoils of war,” “human and material losses” inflicted on the Malian army, as well as the capture of prisoners. They also claim to have shot down a Malian army plane and “thwarted the convoy’s advance” Fama-Wagner.
Only the CSP rebels report on the day-to-day operations around this convoy. This serves as an indicator of which side the balance of power leans toward, at least at this stage. However, it does not provide a comprehensive and independent view of the clashes.
After this morning’s attack, the Fama-Wagner convoy resumed its progress towards Anefis. New clashes were reported late in the afternoon near this locality, located at the entrance to the Kidal region and controlled by the CSP. Some independent sources, both security and civilian, claim that Malian soldiers have even entered Anefis, which the CSP rebels deny. When asked by RFI, the Malian army did not provide any details.
Friday the 13th
In Bamako, political parties and civil society have remained silent since the beginning of what the army calls an “irreversible land occupation process” of Malian territory, with the ultimate goal of the convoy never being specified. Is it to attack the city of Kidal, a stronghold of the rebels? Or, more likely, to take control of the Aguelhoc and Tessalit camps, which the UN mission (Minusma) is supposed to leave soon as part of its withdrawal from the country.
These two camps are located in areas claimed by the CSP under the 2014 ceasefire and security arrangements included in the 2015 peace agreement. The transitional Malian authorities, on the other hand, believe that the Malian army is now intended to establish itself in these camps as it does throughout the entire national territory.
In Bamako, the Collective for the Defense of Soldiers (CDM), a group close to the ruling colonels, is calling for a demonstration in support of the Malian army on Friday, October 13th. The CMAS (Coordination of movements, associations, and supporters of Imam Mamoud Dicko), which brings together organizations supporting the influential Imam Dicko, is also organizing a rally on the same day to demand the establishment of a civilian political transition.