One year after Peace Agreement Mali remains unstable

Rebel Tuareg alliance Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA) on June 20 2015 recognize Mali peace agreement, negotiated one month before in Algiers by the government and by some armed groups in the north and closer to the executive.

MNLA fighters patrolling in Djebok area, 50 km east of Mali's northern region of Gao. Katarina Höije/IRIN

CMA completed the signing of the agreement to restore stability in the country for a long time marked by the Tuareg rebellion and the presence of al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups. Spent a year from completion of the Algiers Agreement, is undeniable the Parties’ commitment in accordance with the agreements, but some delays in the application have created widespread discontent, especially among the separatists groups.
Despite the cease-fire has been fully respected by both sides, the situation remains very tense, because of the jihadist groups attacks that since the signature of the agreement to date, have caused more than 400 deaths.
Moreover, the terrorist attacks, first confined in the northern part of Mali, have expanded to the south, as demonstrated by the repeated terrorist incidents that have targeted the capital Bamako and other bombings that affected the cities of Savare, Kolondieba and Nara, in the center of the country.

A serious obstacle to peace

All this has consolidated in Malians the belief that the incessant action of the various extremist groups has become a serious obstacle to peace. Among active militias in the country responsible for the escalation of attacks in recent months, the most entrenched is Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the North African branch of Al Qaeda network that seemed to have lost positions and prestige in the regional jihad, but recently there was reaffirmed by establishing new alliances with local groups.
Among recent affiliations to AQIM stands out Al-Morabitoun, Islamist group active in Sahara, born in 2013 from the merger of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and the Katiba al-Mulaththamin, led by Algerian terrorist Mokhtar Belmokhtar. In recent months, the Morabitoun claimed three attacks against high-profile targets in Mali, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast.
Ansar Dine is another very active Malian fundamentalist group, appeared in March 2012 and led by Iyad Ag Ghali, one of the main leaders of the second uprising Tuareg consumed between 1990 and 1995. Ansar Dine is one of the main Islamist organizations who took part in the war in Mali.
There is another smaller group affiliated to Ansar Dine: The Macina Liberation Front (MLF), born in the homonymous south-central region and active mainly in the south of Mali and along the border with Burkina Faso. His leader Amadou Koufa, has conducted numerous raids against Malians military aim of establishing an Islamic state.
There are other separatist-inspired groups, very active during the Tuareg rebellion of 2012, as the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), which acts in the CMA coalition. Then there are pro-government militias Songhai Ganda Izo, Ganda Koy and Gatia, created by the Malian authorities to fight the rebels of the CMA, which now constitute a major obstacle to the return of peace in the north of the country.
From this picture, it is clear that the roots of extremist groups in the area has become a risk, which goes well beyond the national territory and extends to the neighboring countries. As evidenced by the numerous recent arrests in Malian territory of jihadist militants involved in 'terrorist attack, which last March 13 hit the tourist Ivory Coast resort of Grand-Bassam.
A spiral of terror, as reported in an article by Boubacar Sangaré, that has prompted Malians journalists, politicians and lawyers to confront on whether to engage in the peace process, the leader of Ansar Dine, Iyad Agh Ghali.
An opening on which puts the absolute veto the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who influenced by repeated episodes of terrorism that hit his country, believes impractical the possibility of establishing negotiations with jihadist groups.
Last week, also Mali’s Prime Minister Modibo Keita, has expressed his opposition to engage in a dialogue with Ghali, explaining that his government cannot deal with those who support terrorism.

The most dangerous peacekeeping mission in recent years

The instability that still shakes the north of the country is also confirmed by the UN decision to send more troops to support United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, known by its French acronym MINUSMA. The peacekeeping mission established by the UN Security Council with resolution 2100 of 25 April 2013, to support the political transition process and stabilize Mali.
Since the beginning of the year have been recorded in the Kidal region at least a dozen attacks against MINUSMA, the last of which dates back to May 31, when AQIM claimed responsibility for an attack on two United Nations’ sites in northern Mali, where a peacekeeper from China and three civilians were killed.
Only two days earlier, during an ambush in the Mopti region, in the center of the country, five Togolese blue helmets were killed. While on May 18, another ambush at Aguelhok had resulted in the killing of five Chadians blue helmets.
The MINUSMA its inception has suffered the loss of 66 troops, due to attacks by Islamic extremists. A deaths toll that has made it the most dangerous UN mission in recent years, with one of the highest fatality rates for any peacekeeping operation in UN history.
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