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June 22-28, 2015

Weekly Media Monitoring report for Mali
Posted on July 2, 2015

Contents

Compiled by André Capretti

1. Aftermath of the Peace Treaty Signing

2. Violent Clashes in Nara & Fakola - Jihadist Terrorism Still Present

3. Mali asks for foreign assistance from France and the UN

4. Menaka Situation Beginning to Stabilize

5. Outrage from MNLA Separatists in Europe


1. Aftermath of the Peace Treaty Signing
State owned media
 

L’ESSOR, “Comité de suivi de la mise en œuvre de l’Accord pour la paix et la réconciliation : L’equation de la representativité ”, June 22nd, 2015

  • The inaugural meeting of the peace accord’s follow-up committee took place June 21st, one day after the rebels signed the agreement.
  • The meeting was attended by representatives from the government, the rebel armed forces and the countries of the international mediation team. There was some confusion and disagreement over the number of representatives from each group/movement who would be allowed to form the committee.
  • The committee will be presided over by Algeria, and the meetings will take place in Bamako.
  • Certain representatives of the rebel groups were frustrated that the meeting focused so much on the logistics related to the committee, rather than the actual implementation of the peace accord.
  • The CMA delegation asked for time to consult its base of supporters, before beginning the work of implementing the accord: a request which was not welcomed by many, who argued that it was no longer the time for consultations, it was the time for action (given that the agreement lays out certain precise deadlines).

Ultimately, the committee’s mandate is to monitor the implementation of measures that aim to peacefully solve Mali’s problems in the North, in all of their dimensions. It will work towards the reunion of the conditions that are necessary to consolidate peace, security and stability across the country; whether it will accomplish this goal, remains to be seen.

Privately owned media
 

L’INDÉPENDANT, “L’accord de paix commence à produire son effet: Des mercenaires libyens operant dans le nord du Mali retournent dans leur pays”, June 27th, 2015

  • A group of mercenaries who had been fighting for the CMA has returned back to their home in Libya, two days after the signing of the peace agreement, on June 22nd.
  • The Libyan soldiers seemingly left as they realized that their services are no longer needed in Mali, now that war and fighting between the rebels and the state seem to be a thing of the past.
  • In addition, these mercenaries understand that they will not be allowed to reintegrate the Malian army, as is the case for many of their local CMA counterparts.

LES ECHOS, “Accord de paix: Que de defis et de risques!”, June 28th, 2015

  • This editorial claims that not only will Mali have to deal with danger from the rebels in the application of its peace accord, but that it will also face devious maneuvers from the international community. Essentially, threats to the peace are numerous and will come from many different sources.
  • The author criticizes the peace agreement for being too approximate and not giving enough details on certain essential elements related to the rebel movement’s demands. Many points remain in need of clarification, which could create conflict and disagreement in the agreement’s application.
  • This article also raises concerns about the way in which the Malian army is acting to ensure the safety of civilians in northern Mali. Notably, the fact that the army is working under the orders of MINUSMA, especially when the UN forces seem to be according much importance and deference to the rebel groups.
  • The author is also worried that the French, motivated by their own geopolitical ambitions, might not keep their word and respect their role under the peace accord, especially with regards to neutrality. 
  • Finally, the fact that there is dissent and division between the rebel movement over whether or not signing the peace agreement was the right move, is also cause for concern for many Malians, as it means that they might not act in a united manner, may be harder to control, and might ultimately jeopardize the peace process.

2.     Violent Clashes in Nara & Fakola – Jihadist Terrorism Still Present
State owned media

L’ESSOR, “Mali: attaque contre la ville de Nara”, June 27th, 2015

  • Armed men on motorcycles attacked the military camp located just outside the city of Nara, located 30km from the Mauritanian border in southwestern Mali, early Saturday morning.
  • Shots were heard around the city until mid-day, as the Malian army managed to fend off the attack with shots of their own.
  • The assailants are presumed to be jihadists, as they were heard screaming Allah Akbar as they entered the city. In the aftermath of the attack the Malian attack patrolled the city to find any hidden assailants.
  • In total there were 12 people killed: 3 Malian soldiers and 9 of the assailants.     

Coming just one week after the signature of the peace accords by the rebel groups, this attack just goes to show that Mali’s security problems will continue to persist until the extremists Islamic groups (who are completely unaffiliated and uninterested with the peace process) at the source of these attacks are eliminated.

Privately-owned media
 

SAHARAMEDIAS.NET, “Ansar Dine revendique l’attaque de Nara”, June 27th, 2015

  • The jihadi terrorist group known as Ansar Dine claimed responsibility for the attack on the city of Nara that claimed the lives of 3 Malian soldiers.

This is not the group’s first or only attack in recent weeks, after the attack they perpetrated in Misseni and in parts of the Northern Gao region. These attacks in different regions across the country are worrying as they indicate the group’s extensive reach and capabilities.

MALIWEB.NET, “Urgent – Après Nara hier, Fakola à l’épreuve des bandits armés ce dimanche matin”, June 28th, 2015

  • Armed man aboard motorcycles and 4x4s violently attacked the city of Fakola, in southern Mali, in the morning of Sunday June 28th, managing to take control of the local police outpost and destroying a local administrative building.
  • The armed men, wearing head coverings, carrying black flags and shouting Allah Akbar (presumed to be jihadists), made their way to the armed forces’ camp, where their attempts to take control were overcome by the local soldiers stationed there.
  • Reinforcements from the army appeared to be on their way to Fakola, to help deal with the assailants still in control of parts of the city.
  • No casualties from either side were reported at the time the news of the attack was made public.
  • Since Sunday morning, it appears that many inhabitants of the city have been fleeing, making their way to the border with the Ivory Coast.

Once again, terrorist attacks so easily perpetrated all over the country, especially in the previously safe regions of the south have increased worry and fear within the general population.

MINUSMA @UN_MINUSMA, June 23rd, 2015

  • These tweets from MINUSMA makes reference to the briefing conducted by Mongi Hamdi, the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Mali, to the UN Security Council.
  • Although this speech was given before the attacks in Nara and Fakola, these clashes just serve to highlight the accuracy of his message; despite the progress achieved through the peace process, the country’s security situation is still immensely problematic.

3.  Mali asks for foreign assistance from France and the UN
State-owned media

L’ESSOR, “Mali: La France se porte garante du respect de l’accord de paix”, June 23rd, 2015

  • French Minister of defense Jean-Yves Le Drian has promised that his country will use all of its weight and power to ensure the successful application of the Malian peace process.
  • The country has guaranteed it will do its absolute most to ensure that the peace accords are respected. 1350 of its soldiers are still deployed in the country, working to combat the jihadist groups that are still active. In addition, they will increase their military support for MINUSMA, and call upon European countries to pitch in as well.
  • The French have also promised to watch over the respect of the political aspects of the peace accord, in particular the political decentralization and military reorganization that have been agreed on in the peace accords.

 

L’ESSOR, “Abdoulaye Diop devant le Conseil de sécurité: “L’ONU doit aider le gouvernement à restaurer son autorité sur l’ensemble du territoire”, June 24th, 2015

  • Mali’s minister of foreign affairs, Abdolaye Diop, formally requested assistance from the UN to restore the government’s authority over the Northern regions of the country.
  • Diop asked that only the Malian armed forces be treated as legitimately having the sovereignty and the right to occupy the national territory.
  • He also pleaded for help in providing essential social services and asked that MINUSMA’s presence in the country not only be expanded, but also have improved means.
  • Diop also acknowledged the necessity for the UN to provide help in combatting the drug trafficking and organized crime that have been feeding the country’s conflict.
  • Finally, Diop asked that MINUSMA’s new mandate be centered around the application of the clauses of the peace treaty, as well as the stabilization of the key regions previously involved in the conflict. Achieving such an important mandate will not be possible without reinforcing the human, material and financial means that the UN forces are currently working with.

4. Situation beginning to stabilize
Privately-owned media

L’INDÉPENDANT, “Menaka: L’armée étend ses patrouilles à plus de 20 kilomètres”, June 26th, 2015

  • After bringing back their troops to Menaka, the Malian army has begun conducting regular daily and nightly patrols, up to a 30km radius around Menaka, to ensure the town’s safety.
  • To date, both the CMA and GATIA forces have been respecting their engagements under the peace accord, staying beyond a 40km radius of the city.
  • The local population has been greatly reassured by the army and MINUSMA’s presence, as well as by the exit of the CMA troops. The town’s situation seems to have stabilized, and life is slowly returning back to normal.

5. Outrage from MNLA Separatists in Europe
Privately owned media

LE PRÉTOIRE, “Paix et réconciliation au Mali: Quand Moussa Ag Assarid joue à sa perte définitive”, June 25th, 2015

  • The spokesperson for the European branch of the MNLA has refused to associate his faction of the rebel movement with the signature of the peace accords concluded by the Malian rebels.
  • The leader of the European MNLA, Moussa Ag Assarid, has called the move by his fellow Malian rebels a betrayal, as the peace treaty does not meet the rebels’ major demands for independence.  
  • Assarid lamented the fact that the domestic rebels did not consult all the international members of the MNLA before modifying the group’s objectives and position on independence and separation.
  • This confrontational attitude from the European branch MNLA can only serve to divide the rebels and undermine their cause. By keeping such an antagonistic tone, Assarid and his followers will surely be deemed enemies of the peace, and treated accordingly.
Foreign Media

LIBERTÉ-ALGÉRIE.COM, “Le MNLA-Europe rejette l’accord d’Alger et crie à la trahison: Prémices d’une nouvelle rébellion?”, June 23rd, 2015

  • The MNLA’s European branch has accused the international mediation of exerting undue influence and pressure on the CMA, in order for them to sign the peace accord.
  • The split within the MNLA could have the unfortunate impact of undermining the implementation of the peace treaty on the ground, and reigniting a new revolution.

 

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