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Country Report Mali

  • ID: 2138674
  • Country Profile
  • April 2016
  • Region: Mali
  • 25 Pages
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit
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Tensions have surged in Kidal, the main centre of support for northern separatism, following a number of arrests made by French anti-terrorist forces and the subsequent death of two demonstrators.

The latest course of events started with three French soldiers being killed when their vehicle hit an improvised bomb on April 12th. In response, French forces launched a crackdown to find the culprits and made several arrests. Locals protested in the streets in Kidal-and attacked the local airport-against what they saw as arbitrary arrests made by the French forces. Representatives of the autonomist group the Co-ordination des mouvements de l'Azawad (CMA), which signed the 2015 peace deal, said that its members were among those arrested. The protest turned violent and two locals were killed when UN peacekeepers tried to control the demonstration. Moreover, on April 16th three officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were abducted by Ansar Dine, a Tuareg jihadi group, who then demanded the release of bombing suspects. (The ICRC staff were released on April 22nd, apparently without these conditions being met.)

These events are a setback for efforts to advance the peace process and boost stability in the region. They also serve as a reminder of the particular difficulties the central Malian authorities and international forces face in Kidal, where support for the autonomist ex-rebels of the CMA is at its strongest. Recent months had seen significant progress, with an agreement allowing troops from the pro-government Plateforme militia coalition to join a tripartite local administration. Yet a warning of the underlying mistrust that still persists came when the CMA insisted on pressing ahead with a long-planned regional development forum, even though the government indicated it was not yet ready to participate. Although responsibility for the death of the two demonstrators remains unconfirmed-the UN peacekeeping force has opened an inquiry-the incident will further weaken locals' trust both in foreign forces present in northern Mali and in the central government, thereby complicating efforts to implement the peace plan.
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Country Report Mali

Tensions mount in Kidal
Event
Analysis
Impact on the forecast
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