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June 15-21, 2015

Weekly Media Monitoring report for Mali
Posted on July 3, 2015

Contents

Compiled by André Capretti

  1. Algiers Accord Signed by Rebels
  2. GATIA Forces Leave Menaka
  3. Terrorist Attacks Persist
  4. UN Release Report on Mali & MINUSMA Mandate Extended

1.     Algiers Accord Signed by Rebels
State-owned media

L’Essor, “Accord pour la paix et la réconciliation: La Coordination signe le document à Bamako ”, June 20th, 2015

  • The rebel armed forces of the CMA & MNLA signed the Algiers peace accord on Saturday June 20th, as had been announced and promised a few weeks ago.
  • Malian president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and members of the Algerian mediation team attended the signing ceremony. Representatives from the CMA and the MNLA were also present, declaring the rebel group’s commitment to implementing a lasting peace in the country.
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdoulaye Diop announced during the ceremony that a committee would be put into place to monitor the implementation of the accord.
  • The ceremony represented a symbolic gesture of compromise and conciliation, as representatives of all the belligerent parties came together in a show of solitude, pledging their cooperation towards a united and peaceful Malian state.
  •  UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon congratulated the parties for their progress in the peace process, reminding them that peace would remain the responsibility of the Malian people, though the UN and the international community would remain available to provide assistance and collaboration if necessary.

 

Privately-owned media

L’Informateur, “Signature de l’accord par les rebelles: Pourquoi ils ont choisi le 20 juin”, June 17th, 2015

  • Though the signing of the peace accord no doubt marks a large step forward in the Malian conflict, the choice of June 20th as the signature date has been criticized as a symbolic gesture of separatism, given that it marks the 55th anniversary of Mali’s own independence.

Some commentators view this choice on behalf of the rebels as a provocation; a sign that their everlasting desires to obtain an independent state of Azawad have not been quelled by the peace accord.

Maliweb.net, “Paix et réconciliation au Mali: L’accord d’Alger signé par la CMA: Une nouvelle ère?”, June 20th, 2015

  • Though all the belligerent parties have now signed the peace agreement, the devil remains in the details of actually applying all the elements of the 30-page, 67-article accord, in order to achieve a definitive and lasting peace.
  • The committee that will be monitoring the implementation of the peace and reconciliation treaty (the CSA) will be composed of the Malian government, the signatory rebel movements, and the international mediation (Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger, Chad, UN, African Union, etc.).

Mali definitely has reason to be optimistic about the future peace and unity of its state on paper, but the most difficult periods are still yet to come, as mobilizing the parties to implement the exact details of the agreement in the field will be immensely challenging and behold much potential for conflict.

Studiotamani.ORG, “Signature de l’accord de paix par la CMA: les Maliens entre espoir et incertitude”, June 21st, 2015

  • Public opinion surrounding the peace agreement has been cautiously optimistic, as many people are welcoming this breakthrough skeptically.
  • Certain members of the public in the North stated that they were happy with this result, as their priority was not to gain independence, but rather to gain peace and continue developing as a country.
  • People are conscious that for this milestone to have any meaning, the involved parties will need to sincerely respect and work toward the execution of the agreement. Otherwise signing a piece of paper is pointless and will bring nothing of substance to the people of Mali. 

After having suffered for three years, the people of Mali are hopeful that the time for peace is now. Here’s to hoping that the execution of the peace agreement goes off without a hitch, that national reconciliation is successfully achieved, and that the country can move forward, concentrating on its economy, education, health and every aspect of its development.

Foreign Media

RFI, “Mali: les enjeux de la signature de l’accord de paix”, June 20th, 2015

  • Now that all parties have officially signed the peace agreement, the next few months will be complicated, as the accord will begin to be progressively applied.
  • Notably, the country should go through a decentralization of power, an instauration of new regional assemblies, the demobilization of rebel armed forces, a greater representation of northern populations in national institutions and the redeployment of the Malian national army across the country.
  • A key part of the success of the peace agreement rests on the respect of the ceasefire by all belligerent parties. An effective end to the hostilities would render the peace process irreversible, and could also allow refugees to return to their homelands definitively.

AFP, “Mali: levée des ultimes obstacles à la signature de l’accord de paix par la rébellion”, June 21st, 2015

  • The Malian government lifted the arrest warrants it had placed on 15 leaders of the CMA rebel group a few days before the signing of the peace agreement.
  • This gesture can be considered a sign of appeasement, aimed at creating a climate favourable for negotiations and reconciliation.
  • The pro-Bamako armed forces also exited the city of Menaka on June 19th, as agreed upon the June 5th security agreement. Their presence in the city had been a point of contention and the last obstacle towards the signing of the peace agreement by the rebels on June 20th.
  • GATIA made it clear that their exit was not meant to allow the CMA or MNLA to take their place; only MINUSMA and the Malian government would be allowed to ensure the security of Menaka.                  

 


2.     GATIA Forces Leave Menaka
Privately-owned media

Studiotamani.org, “La plateforme décide de quitter la ville de Ménaka”, June 17th, 2015

  • A delegation composed of a regional representative of MINUSMA, members of the GATIA platform and local politicians arrived in Menaka on Wednesday June 17th to announce to the local population that the pro-government armed forces would be leaving the city.
  • The Menakan population no longer opposes this decision, as long as the CMA does not return to the city. In addition, the locals are asking for Malian armed forces to be deployed in the city to ensure security along with MINUSMA.

Maliweb.net, “Et enfin… La plateform décide officiellement de quitter Ménaka ce vendredi”, June 18th, 2015

  • After having taken control of Menaka on April 27th, the GATIA platform forces has accepted demands for it to formally disengage from the city on Friday June 19th, in order to facilitate the peace process one day before the accord is to be signed by the rebels.
  • The GATIA platform stated it had received sufficient guarantees regarding the security of the Menakan population by the Malian government and MINUSMA, and said that it would be ready to act in case there were any threats to the city’s integrity and safety.

3. Terrorist Attacks Persist
Privately owned media

Les Echos, “Djenne: Le poste de gendarmerie attaqué dimanche soir”, June 16th, 2015

  • A security control post outside of Djenne, a UNESCO heritage city in central Mali, was attacked on the evening of June 14th. Four unidentified individuals on motorcycles (presumed to be jihadists or rebels) opened fire on the post being occupied by two policemen.
  • No one was killed in the attack, but the assailants managed to burn down the post and all the vehicles that were stationed there before reinforcements arrived an hour later.
  • MINUSMA forces patrol the city once a week, but this does not reassure the local population as an attack took place in Djenne nonetheless.

This attack just a few days before the signing of the peace agreement highlights the persistent problems of insecurity and terrorist attacks that continue to plague the country.

L’Indicateur du Renouveau, “Attaque au nord: 7 morts du côté de la CMA”, June 18th, 2015

  • On June 17th, an ambush committed in Tawarde (Northern Mali) by CMA rebels against a GATIA patrol backfired, as seven rebel soldiers died, eight were made prisoners and four of their vehicles were seized. This attack constituted a violation of the ceasefire that is in place across the country.
  • On June 16th, two armed men shot at two Red Cross vehicles in Northeastern Mali, without making any victims.

These attacks are further evidence of the security problem that persists in Northern Mali, and may likely continue even after the rebels sign the peace agreement on June 20th.

L’Indicateur du Renouveau, “Attaque de Misseni: La gendarmerie arrête deux membres de la secte Dawa à Sikasso”, June 19th, 2015

  • Police arrested two members of the Dawa Islamist sect in Sikasso on June 16th, for the terrorist attack they committed in Misseni the week prior (the first of its kind in Southern Mali), which resulted in the death of a police officer.

4. UN Release Report on Mali & MINUSMA Mandate Extended
State-owned media

L’Essor, “Rapport du secrétaire général de l’ONU sur le Mali: Recrudescence de la violence et faibles moyens de la MINUSMA”, June 18th, 2015

  • The latest report on Mali conducted by the special representative to the UN Secretary General, Mongi Hamdi, documents the deteriorating security situation, making reference to the increased amount of deadly extremist attacks across the country, especially against civilians and local authority figures.
  • The report recommends that the MINUSMA mandate be further extended in the country, despite the fact that its peacekeepers have been targeted by numerous attacks, resulting in many injuries and deaths.
  • The document also makes reference to the clash in Menaka, and the efforts made by MINUSMA to monitor the conflict by deploying investigative teams to observe and evaluate the fighting, immediately reinforcing its military presence, and proposing a disengagement plan that would see all other armed groups leaving the city.
  • The report concludes that in the past month, all belligerent parties had committed violations of the ceasefire agreement.
  • Hamdi stresses the importance for the soldiers, police officers and peacekeepers being dispatched to end the conflict, to have the capacities, training and equipment required to act in a sure and effective way, in such a difficult and dangerous environment.

 

Privately-owned media

Jeune Afrique (foreign media), “Mali: un an de plus pour la MINUSMA”, June 19th, 2015

  • The UN Security Council will be extending the mandate of the MINUSMA mission in Mali by one year, some time before June 30th 2015.
  • The mission’s budget and size will not likely be increased, although around 40 additional military observers are expected to help supervise and monitor the respect of the ceasefire in the northern regions of the country.

Journal du Mali, “Mali: Le rapport mitigé du S.G du Conseil de sécurité”, June 19th, 2015

  • The recent UN S.G report on Mali also sheds light on an estimated 23 instances of sexual violence linked to the conflict, as well as 33 other complaints related to human rights violations. Most of the perpetrators are believed to be members of armed forces.
  • The state’s authority and control over the country has regressed in the past few months, most notably in the regions of Gao, Mopti and Timbuktu. The deteriorating security situation has therefore impacted the provision of humanitarian assistance.
 
Foreign Media

AFP, “La force de l’ONU au Mali a des lacunes, dénonce son chef”, June 18th, 2015

  • MINUSMA commandant Michael Lollesgaard lamented the mission’s lack of proper training, logistical and information capacities, which are necessary to fulfill its mission and ensure its security.
  • Lollesgaard declared that MINUSMA was not properly equipped to handle the asymmetric warfare that it was subject to in the country, making it vulnerable to attacks, bombing and ambushes from the various armed rebel groups.
  • Lollesgaard believes that MINUSMA needs to have closer contact with local populations in order to better protect itself against attacks.
  • Out of the 16 UN peacekeeping missions in the world, MINUSMA is the one that has suffered the most losses, with 36 soldiers killed and more than 200 injured since its deployment in 2013.  

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