Concerns are growing that militant groups in Mali are increasing in number and strength, with violence spreading across the country and across borders. In January 2019, local al-Qaeda affiliate, the Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM), claimed a series of attacks on UN peacekeepers, soldiers from both Mali and Burkina Faso, and local militants.
JNIM—which formed in March 2017 and was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department in September 2018—and affiliated militant groups have expanded their influence, spreading from the north into central Mali by capitalizing on communal tensions, and has continued to carry out attacks in the capital, Bamako. A branch of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, known as the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, has also appeared, compounding concerns over the militant threat.
In August 2018, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won re-election in a runoff vote that was marred by violence in the run-up to both rounds of the election. In addition to a deteriorating security environment, the Malian government continues to struggle to implement the June 2015 peace agreement it signed with the Coordination of Azawad Movements and a coalition of Tuareg rebel groups. Major components of the deal—including steps to increase autonomy and political representation in the north, bring development, and integrate rebel groups into the Malian security forces—remain unfulfilled.
Country Profile of Mali
United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)
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