By Rida Lyammouri
September 2nd, 2016
Security situation in Mali remains a major concern due to ongoing attacks by violent extremist organizations (VEOs) against Malian, French, and the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Similar to July, almost exclusively all the attacks in August were conducted and claimed by Ansar al-Din operating in Kidal region and Ansar al-Din Macina brigade operating in central Mali. This trend is expected to continue for coming weeks and months despite increased pressure by French and Malian forces. On August 3rd Ansar al-Din released a video confirming to hold hostage 5 Malian soldiers from the Nampala attack.
National and international efforts to stabilize the country also suffered a major setback with ongoing violence and tensions between domestic actors. Tensions between the two key participants at the Algiers accord, the Coordination des Movements d’Azawad (CMA) and Groupe autodéfense touareg Imghad et alliés (GATIA), remains really high and have resulted more violent clashes. Clashes between Bambara and Fulani communities also resumed in central Mali, have been deadly, and this violence likely to continue in coming weeks and months.
AQIM and Ansar al-Din Related Security Incidents
03 August 2016: MINUSMA supply truck attacked and set on fire while heading to Timbuktu. (See image)
07 August 2016: MINUSMA vehicle struck an IED between Aguelhoc and Tessalit in Kidal region. 1 peacekeeper killed and 4 injured, all of Chadian nationality. Ansar al-Din claimed the attack.
07 August 2016: MINUSMA patrol vehicle struck an IED in Kidal 2km east of the camp. No casualties, just material damages. Ansar al-Din claimed the attack.
07 – 08 August 2016: On 7 August Malian Army convoy ambushed by Ansar al-Din Macina brigade between Ténénkou and Diafarabé in Central Mali, between Kia and Dia. On the following day, 8 August, Malian reinforcement arrived to the area and further clashes took place. According to Malian official 5 soldiers disappeared and recovered dead in the Niger River on 10 August. Ansar al-Din claimed the attack and that 1 [Ansar al-Din] fighter killed.
07 August 2016: Gunmen entered and fired at a crowd attending a concert inside youth center at Gossi. 1 civilian killed and 4 injured while the attacker managed to escape. Attacker was armed with a machine gun.
07 August 2016: Two gunmen assassinated Kerena Commune Mayor’s relative [aunt], Douentza Circle. Nephew of the Mayor was also injured during the attack. The Mayor supposedly was the target.
07 August 2016: The National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA) brigade made of the Kel Aghizafs (a vassal tribe of Kel Antessar) at Ras el Ma clashed with Tarmouz Arab clan of MAA (separatist). Supposedly clashes were result of a dispute days before between men from both groups.
13 August 2016: Member of the Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA) military branch close to the Malian government was targeted by unknown gunmen on Timbuktu – Likrakar route. Victim was identified as Abdallah Ould Mrakchi and survived the attack despite suffering major injuries in his head.
14 August 2016: Unconfirmed report by a local source said members of AQIM targeted and killed 5 GATIA members near Tabankort at In-Tassit.
16 August 2016: Ansar al-Din claimed IED attack and destroying French armored vehicle 12km west of Abeibera, Kidal Region. The incident was not confirmed by independent sources or by French government.
17 August 2016: Reportedly, French forces discovered and seized weapons at Tabankort, Gao region. GATIA claimed the weapons belong to its fighters and the operation is allegedly an attempt to weaken the pro-government militia that is in ongoing war against the CMA.
18 August 2016: Two non-government organization (NGO) vehicles attacked by unknown gunmen on motorcycles 30km southeast of Ménaka according to a local source.
20 August 2016: Malian customs seized 25 boxes of ammunition in a transportation vehicle traveling from Senegal to Mali. However, supposedly the boxes belong to peacekeeper of MINUSMA.
20 August 2016: Ansar al-Din claimed an attack on Malian Army checkpoint in Mopti city in Mopti region. Group claimed to have conducted the attack by 4 militants on motorcycles and to have seized weapons and ammunition.
20 August 2016: Unconfirmed report said Barkhane vehicle struck an IED at Akomass village, 70km from Kidal according to a local source.
21 August 2016: Unconfirmed report said members of Ansar al-Din intercepted a fuel supply convoy for GATIA [Malian government backed militia] near Nigerien borders. Allegedly vehicles were burned and 5 occupants executed.
22 August 2016: Unconfirmed report said members of Ansar al-Din seized GATIA vehicle while its members were also taken at Tin Hama according to a local source.
24 August 2016: Ansar al-Din claimed to have destroyed French vehicle near Abeibera. Claim was not confirmed by independent sources or by French government.
29 August 2016: MINUSMA supply truck struck an IED at Tabrichat, village located 8km south of Tabankort, Gao region. 3 civilians killed according to local source.
29 – 31 August 2016: Two Malian Army vehicles set on fire August 31st by unknown armed members between Mondoro and Boni, at village M’Beebi, Mopti region. Reportedly, Malian Army convoy was traveling between the two villages before the two vehicles got stuck in sand. The convoy continued and left 25 soldiers to guard the vehicles who were attacked by unknown group. 3 soldiers injured and fled with others to Boni while 5 soldiers remain missing.
31 August 2016: Unknown gunmen attacked Malian gendarmerie post 40km from Bandiagara heading to Bankass. Attackers arrived by foot and attacked from three different directions, 1 gendarme injured while attackers managed to escape.
Intercommunity and Inter Armed Groups Violence
09 – 10 August 2016: CMA and GATIA forces clashed at Koniba, 35km from Kidal. This is the third time these groups engaged in violent clashes within three weeks following clashes of 21 – 22 July and 30 July. Number of casualties and causes of clashes are difficult to confirm.
16 August 2016: Member of self-defense militia, Ganda Izo movement, was reportedly killed in N’bouna, a town about 60km from Goundam. According to residents, the reasons for the murder are unknown and no suspect was arrested. Source: Radio Djimba.
27 August 2016: Reportedly, 5 killed and 7 injured in intercommunity clashes between Bambara and Fulani herders at Dioura, Mopti region. Clashes might have resumed on the 30th as well and caused more casualties according to a local source.
29 August 2016: Reportedly, Malian Army exchanged fire with unknown armed group around the villages of Dioura, Kologri and Sirakoro in Ténenkou Commune. 1 gunman killed and 1 injured.
05 – 06 August 2016: Gunmen attacked group of youth gathering at Koiratao village, Niafunké Circle, Timbuktu region. Unclear if were victims during the attack, but reportedly gunmen occupied the village for three hours before leaving with three motorcycles, a cart, cellphones, and looting main village shop.
08 August 2016: Gunmen robbed civilians traveling in a bus from In-Delimane to Ansongo. Robbers seized all goods from the passengers before leaving them abandoned on the side of the road. Source: Radio Aadar Koukia
09 August 2016: Transportation bus attacked by unknown gunmen 15km from Gossi. 4 passengers killed and bus belongs to Maiga Transport company.
27 August 2016: Two gunmen robbed mini transportation bus passengers on Kangala bridge located 5km from Bentia (between Gao and Ansongo), Ouatagouna commune, Ansongo Circle. No victims reported but gunmen seized cash, cellphones, and clothes from passengers before fleeing. Drivers’ syndicate organized a meeting in Ansongo on 26 August to discuss the issue of armed robberies in the area. On 27 August 2016, drivers of public transportation between Gao and Ménaka are threatening to go on strike due to increased armed robberies. Source: Radio Koukia.
27 August 2016: Gunmen dressed in military uniforms robbed 5 Moroccan trucks driven by 5 Moroccan drivers while traveling from Mali to Cote d’Ivoire. One driver told media gunmen used military titles in French [i.e. mon capitain, mon chef, mon adjudant] when speaking to each other. The 5 drivers were released and handed their cellphones and the keys of their trucks the next morning by the robbers but were physically beaten according to one driver.