The Coalition pour le Peuple de l’Azawad (Coalition for the People of Azawad, CPA)* is a political faction and armed group in northern Mali, with its base in the Timbuktu Region. The CPA does not belong to the Coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad (Coordination of Movements of Azawad, CMA), the main coalition of ex-rebels in northern Mali – and one of three signatories to the 2015 Algiers Accord. The CPA has come up in two pieces I’ve written over the last year and a half or so (on jihadists’ political relationships with other actors in Timbuktu, and on the kidnapping of Malian opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé, also in Timbuktu). I have not yet delved deeply into understanding the CPA, but since it keeps coming up, here are some key sources on the group, sources that will hopefully prove helpful to any readers who are also interested in the CPA or in wider questions of political-military competition in northern Mali.
- The CPA’s Facebook page, where one can read statements and watch videos (for example, here) from key events.
- Jeune Afrique‘s March 2014 interview with Ibrahim Ag Mohamed Assaleh, founder of the CPA, when he broke with the Mouvement national de libération de l’Azawad (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, MNLA, one of three main movements now in the CMA). See also Jeune Afrique‘s discussion of the CPA’s founding here.
- Zeini Moulaye’s 2016 report on security challenges in the Sahel-Sahara, which features a discussion of the CPA’s 2014-2015 history (p. 14), including tensions between Ag Mohamed Assaleh and another key leader, Mohamed Ousmane Ag Mohamedoune.
- Studio Tamani’s November 2017 report on the creation of the Coordination des mouvements de l’entente (Coordination of Movements of Understanding, CME), an umbrella framework for northern armed groups that are not signatories to the Algiers Accord and that are, for the most part, breakaways from signatory groups. The CPA is a leading member of the CME, and the Studio Tamani report features a brief audio commentary by Ag Mohamedoune.
- The United Nations Security Council’s December 2018 narrative explanation of its decision to sanction the CPA’s Secretary-General Mohamed Ousmane Ag Mohamedoune for “his involvement in planning, directing, sponsoring, or conducting attacks against: (i) the various entities referenced in the Agreement, including local, regional and state institutions, joint patrols and the Malian Security and Defence forces; (ii) MINUSMA peacekeepers and other UN and associated personnel, including members of the Panel of experts; (iii) international security presences, including the FC-G5S, European Union Missions and French forces.”
- The February 2019 report from the United Nations Panel of Experts on Mali, where pp. 14-15 discuss the CPA, its activities in the Timbuktu Region, and its relationship with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The Panel of Experts’ August 2018 report also discusses the CPA, especially on pp. 24-25.
- Le Point’s August 2018 interview with Ag Mohamedoune, where he responds to the Panel of Experts’ statements that the CPA coordinates and has relationships with jihadists.
- L’Indépendant‘s March 2020 report on leadership struggles within the CPA and certain leaders’ public criticisms of Ag Mohamedoune.
- The May 2020 communiqué from the CPA stating that Ag Mohamedoune had been stripped of his post and had no longer represented the CPA since February 2020.
- Adib Bencherif’s 2018 article “Le Mali post « Accord d’Alger » : une période intérimaire entre conflits et négociations,” which helps to place the CPA and the CME into their wider context of armed groups’ relationships and competition in northern Mali since 2015.
*Also sometimes rendered as “le Coalition du Peuple pour l’Azawad.”