Tuaregs in Mali Declare A Blockade of Northern Areas (Russia)
Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Tuaregs have announced a blockade of roads in Northern Mali that links with the neighboring nations of Algeria, Mauritania, and Niger. This comes after recent gains by the armed forces of Mali.
Accordingly, since the fall of Kidal to the armed forces of Mali, the Tuaregs have sought to pressure the government economically.
Voice of America reports, “The Permanent Strategic Framework (CSP), an alliance of rebel forces, said it had decided to set up roadblocks across all roads leading to northern borders with Mauritania, Algeria and Niger.”
Hence, if the Tuaregs can do this, the cities of Gao, Kidal, Menaka, Taoudeni, and Timbuktu will witness strong countermeasures by the CSP.
The armed forces of Mali – with support from the Russian Federation – have utilized drones and the airforce against Islamists and the Tuaregs.
Sergei Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, said (earlier this year) that “extensive supplies of aviation equipment” were sent to the armed forces of Mali.
Lavrov continued, “We will now be planning additional steps in the field of education through military higher educational institutions and in the field of supplies of weapons and military equipment.”
France 24 reports, “Russia’s presence in Mali has expanded as the role played by former colonizer France has diminished. After spending nine years helping Mali’s army curb the spread of Islamic insurgents, France withdrew its forces last year after relations soured with the country’s ruling junta.”
Islamic forces with links to al-Qaeda and ISIS (Islamic State – IS) seek to gain from the crisis by spreading their tentacles within Tuareg separatist forces.
It is hoped that the ruling elites in Mali and Tuareg forces will seek to resolve their political differences – rather than further bloodshed. If not, militant Islamic forces plan to devour both by utilizing Islamist ideology concerning the ongoing discord.
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