By Rida Lyammouri
July 4th, 2016
Violent extremist organizations (VEOs) operating in Mali remained aggressive in June and deadly throughout northern and central Mali, especially Ansar al-Din. VEOs operational in Mali include Ansar al-Din, the Macina Liberation Front (MLF) or Ansar al-Din southern brigade, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA or MUJAO). The Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), French, and Malian forces are the main target. Improvised explosive device (IED) still the main tactic used by VEOs.
June also saw attacks against members of armed groups under unclear circumstances. This includes the assassination of High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA) military chief in Ber, member of Ganda Izo at Bourem Sidy Amar, and the kidnapping of the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA) spokesman at Ber.
June also witnessed new developments in central Mali, notably the creation of new group identified as Alliance Nationale pour la Souvegarde de l’Identité Peule et la Restauration de la Justice (ANSIPRJ) on 19 June 2016. This will further complicate operations countering the rise of the MLF and efforts to eradicate violence related to tribal and ethnic tensions in central Mali.
Numbers recorded in June 2016 by Maghreb and Sahel Blog:
- 26 violent incidents in Mali involving VEOs.
- Ansar al-Din claimed 10 out of 26 incidents against French, MINUSMA, and Mali forces.
- IEDs were used 7 out of 26 times during the attacks.
- MINUSMA forces and MINUSMA contractors were targeted 6 times.
- French forces of Barkhane were targeted 5 times.
- Malian forces were targeted 8 times.
- Armed group members and forces were targeted 3 times.
- At least 30 were killed and at least 40 injured in central Mali in violence related to tribal and ethnic tensions.
Violent Extremist Organisation (VEO) Related Incidents
01 June 2016: French forces struck and destroyed vehicle of suspected jihadists near Tabankort, Gao region. 6 injured and 1 suspect captured.
02 June 2016: Ansar al-Din claimed an IED attack on French forces in Abeibera, Kidal region.
04 June 2016: Ansar al-Din claimed rockets attack on French forces in Abeibera, Kidal region.
05 June 2016: According to local sources, Malian Army vehicle struck an IED in Ménaka, Gao region. 2 soldiers injured.
06 June 2016: MNLA spokesman identified as Efad Ag Arifek kidnapped by unknown gunmen in Ber, Timbuktu region.
10 June 2016: According to local sources, area near Gao airport was subject to rocket attack. No casualties or physical damages reported.
11 June 2016: Unknown gunmen attacked CMA post at Tankademi, Gao region, near borders with Niger. 3 attackers killed and 2 CMA fighters injured. Gunmen fled to Niger according to a CMA representative. This is an area where remaining MUJWA fighters are operational.
12 June 2016: Unknown gunmen attacked Malian Army at one of Timbuktu entrance checkpoints. 2 soldiers injured. No group claimed the attack but members of AQIM brigade al-Furqan suspected to be behind it.
13 June 2016: MINUSMA vehicle struck an IED in Taghlit, between Tessalit and Aguelhoc, Kidal region. No casualties reported and Ansar al-Din claimed responsibility.
14 June 2016: MINUSMA vehicle struck an IED southwest of Tessalit, Kidal region. Ansar al-Din claimed responsibility.
15 – 16 June 2016: Reportedly, suspected jihadists attacked village Mankéna, 13km from Léré in Timbuktu region. 2 civilians killed. Members of AQIM brigade al-Furqan or FLM suspected to be behind the attack.
16 June 2016: Two French vehicles struck an IED in Terbazé village, 15km south of Abeibera according to local sources. French forces have been conducting counterterrorism operations in the area for weeks. Ansar al-Din claimed responsibility.
18 June 2016: Ansar al-Din fired 5 mortars on MINUSMA camp in Aguelhoc, Kidal region according to local sources.
19 June 2016: Gunmen attack Malian security forces checkpoint at Gossi. Ansar al-Din claimed responsibility. Source: Radio la Voix de Gossi
20 June 2016: MINUSMA truck attacked by unknown gunmen at Akar-kara village, 30km from Gossi, between Gossi and Hombori. Reportedly, attackers killed the driver then burned the vehicle. Ansar al-Din claimed responsibility. Source: Radio la Voix de Gossi
21 June 2016: Unknown gunmen assassinated head of HCUA Military at Ber, Timbuktu region. Victim was identified as Alhassane Ag Intouwa. Suspects were arrested by CMA forces and remain unclear if conducted the operation on behalf of AQIM or allies.
21 June 2016: Gunmen attacked two Malian Army checkpoints in Timbuktu. At least 2 Malian soldiers injured, 1 attacker killed, and 2 arrested
22 June 2016: Ansar al-Din launched rockets on French base in Kidal. No casulaties or injuries reported. Ansar al-Din claimed responsibility while local sources denied the incident to have taken place.
23 June 2016: Ansar al-Din claimed mortars attack on MINUSMA camp in Aguelhoc, Kidal region. This could be a mistake by Ansar al-Din media arm al-Rimah as it tried to claim June 18th attack.
25 June 2016: According to local sources unknown gunmen attacked Malian National Guard checkpoint at In-Tillit, Gao region. No information about casualties and damages caused by the attack if any.
25 June 2016: Unknown gunmen attacked supply vehicle heading to Malian Army checkpoint in Timbuktu. Guards protecting the vehicle successfully pushed back the attackers while the driver was injured.
26 June 2016: Ansar al-Din claimed an IED attack then an ambush against Malian forces between Bambara Maoudé and Douentza. Number of casualties is unknown.
27 June 2016: French forces of Barkhane discovered munitions and explosives hidden in powder milk boxes transported by a vehicle in Gao. Reportedly, the vehicle had a Nigerien license plate. Reportedly, French forces engaged in weapons and drugs trafficking in Gao and Kidal regions.
29 June 2016: Gunmen attacked Malian Army site protecting construction company SATOM at In-Telout between Goundam and Timbuktu. 4 soldiers killed and 6 injured, and one vehicle taken.
30 June 2016: 10 MINUSMA supply trucks attacked and destroyed by 4 gunmen on 2 motorcycles 25km north of Bambara Maoudé.
30 June 2016: CMA Agent of Mécanisme Opérationnel de Coordination (MOC) and his bodyguards ambushed by unknown gunmen at Aldjana Bandja in Gao. 1 bodyguard killed and 1 injured. Source: Radio Naata
30 June 2016: AQIM claimed unconfirmed IED attack against Barkhane armored vehicle near Tabankort, Gao region.
Violence related to tribal tensions and non-jihadist groups
11 – 12 June 2016: Conflicting reports about an ambush by GATIA against members of the Ganda Iso at Tin-Habou near Douentza. GATIA claimed to have attacked a brigade of the MLF attempting to set up a camp. However Ganda Iso stated that its members were ambushed by GATIA while were in a demilitarization mission. Reportedly 10-12 members of Ganda Iso were killed, GATIA and Ganda Iso both are government-backed militias.
21 June 2016: Member of self-defense militia Ganda Izo killed while trying to stop an armed robbery in Bourem Sidy Amar. Initial reports suggested it was an assassination of a Ganda Izo commander by unknown gunmen.
25 June 2016: 18 killed and 43 injured during clashes over land between Kossouma and Mougna Bambara villages in Mopti region.
Armed robberies and banditry
19 June 2016: Two transportation buses robbed by unknown gunmen 12km from Léré, Timbuktu region. Robbers seized money, fuel, cellphones, and goods from all passengers. Source: Radio Issa Ber
21 June 2016: Unknown gunmen attacked and abducted 200 cattle from herders at lake Soumpi, near Niafunké. No casualties or injuries reported.
22 June 2016: Unidentified gunmen attacked a convoy of trucks transporting food to Gao. Attackers left with important quantity of grain and cash taken from drivers. No casualties or injuries reported. Source: Radio Aadar Koukia
28 June 2016: Two gunmen on a motorcycle assassinated two civilians in their homes at Inerderen, 40km from Gossi, Timbuktu region. Motorcycle of victims was taken. Source: Radio Voix de Gossi
27 June 2016: Gunmen robbed two teachers at Bourem. Bandits left with their two motorcycles and belongings. No casualties. Source: Radio Communautaire de Bourem