I think my blogging this week will be mostly roundups, at least until the dust settles with the U.S. elections and my (and readers’, perhaps) mental acuity returns to something like normal.
The Mopti Region of Mali deserves its own regular roundup – it is the most violent region in the entire Sahel, with myriad tragedies affecting the region’s residents and with major ramifications for other parts of Mali and the Sahel. The adjacent Ségou Region is also a site of significant insecurity.
I don’t think I’ll attempt a regular roundup, but here are a few pieces that have caught my eye recently. I list them in chronological order. All are in French but I have translated the titles:
- Olivier Dubois, Jeune Afrique, October 4: “In the Mopti Region, a Precarious ‘Peace’ with the Jihadists.” The article focuses on a July 27 peace agreement signed in the Koro district/cercle. The deal contained many striking provisions, including compromises from the jihadist side – such as allowing “republican schools” to continue function, with the provision that Arabic-language schools be prioritized. Then, too, the jihadists said that disputes over stolen animals should be dropped, so as not to elicit further conflict. Precarious indeed.
- On October 28-29, the United Nations’ peacekeeping force MINUSMA launched seven new projects in the Mopti Region aimed at reducing inter communal violence and promoting reintegration.
- Célian Macé, Libération, November 1: “The Malian Army Accused of Summary Executions in a Peul Village.” The Peul are a major ethnic group in Mali and West Africa more broadly, and their role in the current conflict is extraordinarily complex – I refer you to Modibo Ghaly Cissé’s paper here. The village in question here is Liebé, in the Bankass district/cercle of Mopti, near the border with Burkina Faso.
- RFI, November 2: “A Soldier Killed in an Attack at Farabougou.” Farabougou, in the Niono district/cercle in Ségou (map), was the site of a jihadist siege beginning in early October. Breaking the siege required Malian military intervention, including the physical presence of Colonel Assimi Goïta, head of the junta that ruled Mali from late August until early October, and current vice president of the transitional government. The attackers are presumed to belong to Katibat Macina (Macina Battalion), part of the al-Qaida-affiliated JNIM coalition. As you can see from the RFI story, the situation remains tense in and around Farabougou.
- Le Monde, November 3: “France Announces Major Antijihadist Operations in Mali.” The article reports on French claims that operations in the vicinity of Boulkessi, in the Douentza district/cercle of Mopti, killed some 60 jihadists affiliated to Ansaroul Islam last week between approximately October 28-30.