- Madeline Billet
Attack by Militant Group Leads to 130 Dead in Mali, Heightens Conflict Displacement
By Madeline Billet
Since the West African country’s coup in 2012, Mali has been suffering at the hands of violent domestic terrorists, with the most recent attack killing at least 130 civilians in the central Mopti region.
Between 15 March and 17 June, the IDMC reported close to 55,000 displacements in Mali, making it a highly vulnerable state. Additionally, it is reported that 326,000 IDPs were recorded at the end of 2020, with almost all of them being due to the overwhelming violence and conflict.
While many stay within the country of Mali, the UNHCR reports that continued insecurity, climatic shocks and communal conflicts have generated the forced displacement of 333,000 persons by the end of 2020.
The culprits include members of the Macina Liberation Front, an armed militant Islamist group stemming from the growth of jihadist organizations across the nation. It's reported that the Macina Katiba actively associates themselves with Al Qaeda.
The Katiba Macina group raided at least three villages in the town of Bankass, systematically killing the innocent inhabitants, as reported by trtworld. A local official has also reported that the perpetrators are burning down huts, houses, and stealing cattle. However, this is not the lone instance of Islamic terrorism in the region. Since the coup in 2012, thousands have died and millions of innocent people have been displaced at the hands of the militia groups, most of which affiliate themselves with Al Qaeda and ISIS.
Map provided by ReliefWeb and OCHA, July 5 2022.
France, an ally of Mali, has provided aid and assistance to squash the terrorism, but to no avail. French troops have been deployed to Mali since 2013, known as Operation Barkhane, with efforts to combat the widespread jihadist terrorism. As French President Macron gradually continues to pull his army out of the African region, UN peacekeepers are attempting to combat the violence through the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
However, in a separate event, a Guinean UN peacekeeper was killed recently by an improvised explosive device, indicating a possible war crime, as reported by the UN. This is not the first attack of MINUSMA uniformed personnel by suspected Islamist terrorists.
The MINUSMA was established in 2013, with the intent to “focus on duties, such as ensuring security, stabilization and protection of civilians; supporting national political dialogue and reconciliation; and assisting the reestablishment of State authority, the rebuilding of the security sector, and the promotion and protection of human rights in that country”.