Category Archives: MINUSMA

Mali: Quick notes about presidential elections from the first day.

By Rida Lyammouri

July 30th, 2018

State run TV station announced some satisfaction about conditions of the elections throughout most of the country. However also pointed out to different types of incidents that either disrupted the event or prevented people from voting at all. For instance, several offices were ransacked by unknown gunmen in Central Region and people were not able to vote. Absence of electoral agents prevented voting in 10 voting centers in Ségou and Timbuktu Regions. 61 offices never opened due to insecurity in Mopti and Timbuktu Regions. According to Malian authorities no vote took place in at least 644 elections offices due to different acts of violence. Furthermore announced that voting was disrupted in at least 3988 other offices. According to Morgane Le Cam, journalist who has been covering the elections, tweeted that 81 percent of closed voting offices due to insecurity were located in Mopti Region, 13.4 percent on Timbuktu Region, and 5.4 percent in Ségou Region. Refugees in Mauritania, Burkina Faso, and Niger were reported to have been able to vote according to impressive live coverage by sahelien.com.

This was expected, at least for observers following the Malian and regional conflicts very closely. Security situation in Mopti Region have deteriorated not only due to militant groups like JNIM (Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen), but also to tensions between local communities. No major incidents related to militant groups took place the day of elections with the exception of intimidation acts and rocket attack in Aguelhoc, Kidal Region. Alleged members of militant group JNIM threatened and warned local population from voting in different location in Mopti Region. JNIM also claimed responsibility of launching rockets on MINUSMA base in Aguelhoc during elections day. In the statement (see the claim #83) JNIM stated that this is an indication that the fight will continue against the French and its collaborators until Shari’a wins, and these elections don’t mean anything.

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JNIM statement claiming rockets attack on MINUSMA camp in Aguelhoc, Kidal Region on July 29th, 2018. 

At this stage it’s too early to predict who is going to win, however; there is strong possibility of second round. Soumaila Cissé is the strongest challenger to current president Ibrahim Boubakar Keita. Again, this is just a prediction based on early counts coming in, remains to be seen. Overall, today’s elections occurred in less violent conditions compared to 2016 municipal elections when several offices were burned and voting boxes destroyed. Also, no major incidents recorded in Ménaka and Kidal Regions where State has limited to no presence.

These are crucial moments for Mali and the Malian people, whatever the outcome of these elections is, the focus should be on what’s ahead. Any elections related violence will further delegitimize state credibility not only in the north and center of the country but also in the south. The government will also lose credibility among the opposition and armed groups signatories of the peace accord. As a result causing further instability throughout the country and delay in implementing the peace process. Something militant groups, like JNIM will exploit further to its narrative highlighted by Iyad Ag Ghali, that these elections are useless and only used to serve the usual beneficiaries and not the Malian people. This is an opportunity for Malian political elites to show willingness and leadership to move the country forward and delegitimize JNIM and other spoilers.

 

Mali – Sahel: May 2018 Violent incidents by Al-Qaeda affiliate Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), Ansaroul Islam, and other security incidents

By Rida Lyammouri,

June 14, 2018

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FULL PDF REPORT – MAY 2018 INCIDENT TRACKER

Mali – Sahel: August 2017 – April 2018 Chronology of Violent Incidents by Al-Qaeda Affiliate Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), Ansaroul Islam, and Armed Banditry and Inter-Community Violence

 

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CLICK HERE FOR FULL PDF REPORT

 

 

Mali – Sahel: July 2017 violent incidents related to JNIM [AQIM, Ansar al-Din, Al-Murabitoun, and MLF coalition], and other security incidents

By Rida Lyammouri,

September 7th, 2017

MALI – SAHEL: JULY 2017 Monthly Tracker – PDF 

July 2017 by the numbers:

  • JNIM claimed 7 attacks against French, MINUSMA, and Malian forces in July 2017.
  • Casualties summary in July 2017: At least 1 MINUSMA peacekeepers (or contractor) killed and 6 injured; 7 French soldiers injured; 11 Malian soldiers killed and 4 injured; 6 members of armed groups killed; 2 civilians killed and 2 injured in attacks claimed or attributed to JNIM or other VEOs operating in Mali.
  • July 2017 recorded multiple clashes between CMA and Platform forces, mostly in Kidal Region further complicating implementation of peace accord signed over two years ago.
  • Armed robberies against civilians transportation and NGO vehicles in central and northern regions continues to be major security concern.
  • French forces made several arrests of suspects collaborating with jihadist groups in Timbuktu Region.
  • In July 2017 JNIM claimed its first major attacks on Burkinabe and Nigerien forces in Burkina Faso and Niger respectively. Since its creation in March 2017, JNIM almost exclusively operated and only claimed attacks in Mali. During these attacks at least 5 Nigerien and 8 Burkinabe soldiers killed while 3 Nigerien injured.
  • After Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui released a letter threatening MSA and GATIA groups in June, number of attacks recorded in Ménaka Region where the group that pledged allegiance to so-called Islamic State operates.
  • Kisal NGO reported acts of violence by GATIA against Fulani herders following increased attacks by unidentified gunmen. GATIA accuses Fulani herders of collaboration with jihadist groups in Ménaka Region.
  • In Burkina Faso at least 10 people killed in Sahel Region as a result of target assassinations by suspected jihadists.

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Mali – Sahel: June 2017 Violent Incidents Related to Al-Qaeda Affiliate JNIM, Ansaroul Islam, and Other Security Incidents

By Rida Lyammouri

August 2nd, 2017

FULL PDF REPORT COULD BE FOUND HERE

  • JNIM claimed 8 attacks against French, MINUSMA, and Malian forces in June 2017.
  • In June 4 MINUSMA peacekeepers killed and 9 injured, 4 French soldiers injured, 7 Malian soldiers killed and 12 wounded, 2 civilians executed and 2 injured.
  • Sahel MeMo noted number of inter-community violence. Deadly clashes were recorded between Fulani herders and Dogon farmers over land management. Clashes started as early as 25 May and went on and off through June, and took place on the borders between Mali and Burkina Faso, and included members from both countries. Casualties were estimated by Kisal NGO to be around 100.
  • Sahel MeMo recorded armed robberies against civilians and NGOs in central and northern regions.
  • French forces conducted from May 28 to June 1st joint operation at Serma forest, 200km SW of Gao with Malian and Burkinabe forces. Barkhane said successfully dismantled networks and camps used by JNIM affiliates in the area, neutralized around 20 militants, and seized arms and ammunition.
  • Sahelien.com reported that since early June 2017 assassinations and acts of exaction of civilians have been recorded in Kidal Region between Imghad Tuareg and Idnan Tuareg.
  • Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui released a letter threatening MSA and GATIA groups.
  • In a short Facebook post, Ansaroul Islam announced change in leadership of the group. New leader identified as Jaafar Dicko supposedly to replace Maalam Ibrahim Dicko. Until now there is no confirmation if Ibrahim Dicko is dead.
  • Swedish hostage, Johan Gustafsson released on 27 June after being held by AQIM since November 25, 2011.

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Mali: Summary of Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) 01 July 2017 Video

By Rida Lyammouri,

02 July 2017

Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) released new video of six remaining hostages. Hostages detained include a French, Australian, South African, Colombian, Swiss, and Romanian. Video was released on 01 July 2017 through its media outlet az-Zallaqa but produced by al-Ezza production, first if I am not mistaken, and maybe JNIM’s new media outlet/platform! This came a day before French president, Emmanuel Macron, second visit to Mali within a month. Also, days before the release of Swedish hostage Johan Gustafsson who was kidnapped (with 5 others) by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in November 25, 2011 at Hotel al-Afia in Timbuktu.

Six hostages appeared in the video. South African Stephen McGow showed first in the is the only hostage remaining from Timbuktu 2011 kidnapping. Second, Australian Eliot Kenneth, kidnapped in Burkina Faso January 2016. His wife was also taken but then released weeks later. Romanian Lulian Ghergut, taken also in Burkina Faso April 2015. Worth noting that Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui, head of Islamic State branch in the Sahara claimed to have Lulian Ghergut when the group pledged allegiance to Islamic State, and split with al-Murabitun of Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

Before showing other hostages the video denounced Christian missionaries operating in Mali. This to justify the reasons of the kidnappings of three humanitarian workers. The first hostage accused of proselytization is the Swiss Béatrice Stockly, who was taken for the second time from Timbuktu in January 2016. Second hostage is the Colombian Gloria Cecilia Narvaez, also accused of proselytizing and described as “Franciscaine.” Sixth and last showed hostage is Sophie Pétronin, humanitarian and last to be taken, kidnapped in Gao December 2016. Sophie Pétronin was accused also of spreading western ideology while showing Emannuel Macron speech promising during the elections to protect the French people. Pétronin also appeared asking for French president’s help for her release, and her need for a surgery due to existing tumor in her left breast. This indicates that the video was made during the last two months, May and June 2017.

Representative of the jihadist group with face covered appeared and noted that serious negotiations has yet to take place. He also made reference to previous hostage releases and to say that this will depend on the political willingness of their respective governments.

Important to note JNIM’s video did not mention Jeff Woodke, an American who was abducted in Abalak, Niger in Oct 2016. An indication that he might be held by different group, and also tells us something about JNIM’s areas of operations.

Mali – Sahel: May 2017 Violent Incidents Related to JNIM [AQIM, Ansar al-Din], and Other Security Incidents

June 15th, 2017

By Rida Lyammouri

  • Sahel MeMo recorded at least 14 violent incidents with violent extremist organizations (VEOs) involvement. However only 7 officially claimed by Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM) through its media arm az-Zallaqa.
  • Sahel MeMo recorded at least 23 casualties and 43 injuries among Malian Army, MINUSMA, and MNLA as a result of the 14 violent incidents by VEOs. Out of the 14 incidents, both MINUSMA and Malian forces were victims of 4 attacks each [1 both simultaneously].
  • Among casualties recorded in May 2017, 3 MINUSMA peacekeepers killed and 14 injured. 19 Malian soldiers killed and 28 injured. 1 MNLA member assassinated.
  • Sahel MeMo recorded at least 24 armed robberies incidents in May 2017. Non-government organizations (NGOs) were targeted by armed bandits at least 5 times, including ICRC and MSF. Armed robberies recorded all took place in northern and central Mali and most of the victims were civilians.
  • Sahel MeMo recorded clashes between armed groups and militias signatories of the peace accord.
  • 3 violent incidents recorded by Sahel MeMo in Niger in Tillabéri Region while 4 others took place in Burkina Faso. No group claimed responsibility of these attacks. Members of Ansaroul Islam in Burkina Faso and Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui men are the main suspects.
  • The month of May 2017 also witnessed at least two tragedies regarding migrants traveling to Libya through Niger. At least 52 migrants were found dead in the Nigerien desert.

FULL PDF REPORT – MAY 2017 INCIDENT TRACKER

 

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