Mali Army Takes Kidal from Tuareg Separatists
Noriko Watanabe and Kanako Mita
Modern Tokyo Times
The army of Mali retook Kidal from Tuareg Separatists to boost the central state against separatist forces (Tuareg forces and Islamic insurgents).
It appears that Tuareg Separatists sought to stem the military convoy from reaching Kidal. However, once the military convoy of Mali moved nearer to Kidal, the Tuareg Separatists left without putting up a military fight. Therefore, civilians evaded the impact of the feared fighting.
France 24 reports, “Mali’s army has recaptured the strategic northern town of Kidal, a stronghold of Tuareg-dominated separatist groups that has long posed a major sovereignty issue for the ruling junta.”
Interim President Assimi Goita said, “Today, our armed and security forces have taken over Kidal. Our mission is not complete.”
He continued, “I recall it consists of recovering and securing the integrity of the territory, without any exclusion, in accordance with the resolution of the [U.N.] security council.”
The Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) – and other insurgent forces connected to Islamist groups – oppose the entrenchment of the armed forces of Mali in northern parts of the country. Naturally, Islamist forces seek to spread their influence further afield.
The BBC said, “For nearly two months, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) has been trying to completely cut off the historic northern city of Timbuktu, preventing supplies from getting in.”
Reuters reports, “Mali, on the Sahara Desert’s southern fringe, has been plagued by violence since 2012, when Islamist militants hijacked a northern Tuareg uprising.”
Islamist forces with links to ISIS (Islamic State – IS) and al-Qaeda will seek to gain from the crisis and spread their tentacles within Tuareg separatist forces.
The international community seeks to dictate to Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger – with Chad also facing external pressure. However, they need to listen to regional leaders who are intent on seeking national security first over the democratic process that can’t stem separatist and insurgent forces.
Lee Jay Walker says, “It is hoped that central forces in Mali and the CMA will seek to solve their political differences – rather than the military angle after the fall of Kidal. If not, Takfiri Islamists will seek to devour both forces by utilizing ideology and chaos.”
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