Mali Battles Azawad Movement and Islamists
Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Mali is blighted by internal forces that seek to weaken the nation-state. Also, dangerous external influences – from various Islamist terrorist and insurgent groups – to the region suffering from tens of millions of uprooted people in the Sahel, the Lake Chad region, and parts of West Africa is a nightmare for nations that fear disintegration.
ISIS (Islamic State – IS) and several terrorist branches of al-Qaeda (al-Qaida) roam vast regions of the Sahel and the Lake Chad region – linking with West Africa (Northern Nigeria). Also, ethnic differences from Northern Mali – to ethnic and religious tensions in Northern Nigeria (endless massacres against Christians) mean a vast area of instability – with Libya in North Africa being a conduit for terrorism, arms trafficking, and people’s smuggling. Therefore, millions of people have fled parts of Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and other nations linking West Africa (Nigeria).
The Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) is launching new attacks in the Bamba region of Northern Mali.
Voice of America reports, “The CMA is an alliance of predominantly Tuareg groups seeking autonomy or independence from the Malian state.”
According to the CMA, they have killed at least 80 soldiers of the armed forces of Mali. At the same time, various Islamist groups are involved in terrorist and insurgent attacks.
In early September, the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM – al-Qaeda affiliate) also attacked the same area now being attacked by the CMA in Bamba. Accordingly, some fluidity – or understanding – exists where anti-central government forces launch attacks against the central state.
The Alliance of Sahel States was recently signed by Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.
These three nations fear the disintegration of the nation-state. Hence, military coups seek to focus on the military angle and win over poorer and neglected parts of the country – that have been failed by past leaders.
It is incumbent on the international community to support Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger and understand the protracted problems they face.
Mali and moderate forces within the CMA also need to iron out their differences – after all, Takfiri Islamists seek to devour both.
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