Touareg Rebellion & Unrest in Mali

  1. The history of the Touareg people: a trans-border nation, traditionally nomadic, with no country and unrepresented by the governments that govern them. 

    In the past few weeks, Touareg groups in Northern Mali – newly invigorated, perhaps, by their participation as paid mercenaries in the Libyan conflict – have engaged in armed conflict with the Malian government. The Touareg seek an autonomous region in their homelands in the Sahara.

    As a complicating factor, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM) has a strong presence in Touareg areas of Mali. The seriousness of the relationship between AQIM and the Touareg is not clear, but the Al Qaeda in Northern Mali are a growing problem – with kidnappings of westerners and conflicts with neighboring groups. Rumors are rife, reporting is minimal, but civilians are fleeing to neighboring countries and refugee camps are growing. 

    Here’s a summary of news and first hand reporting from Mali. 

  2. The New York Times shares reporting and photos on the ground in Northern Mali, where Touareg rebels are attacking army bases and taking control of villages and towns.
  3. After the Touareg rebels participated in the Libyan conflict, they are better-armed and battle-tested: 

    “They had the advantage of being more numerous, being better armed and having better logistics, including satellite phones,” a Malian government soldier told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “It is the sad truth.”

  4. As a result of violence, civilians are fleeing the area, moving south within Mali and into neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso. The International Committee of the Red Cross reports: 
  5. “”People are fleeing the violence in large numbers, in great haste, and in utter destitution,” said Jürg Eglin, the head of the ICRC’s regional delegation for Niger and Mali. “We are joining forces with the Mali Red Cross and the Red Cross Society of Niger to provide them with food and shelter, and to improve their access to water. The latest assessments made by our staff in northern Mali are particularly alarming.”
  6. Share
    8,000 #Touareg #refugees have fled #Mali and reached neighboring Burkina Faso.
  7. In an area plagued by drought and famine, neighboring countries are unprepared to support refugee camps.

    Translation of tweet below: “In the camps of Malian refugees in Burkina Faso, one lacks everything.”
  8. Share
    #Mali Actu : Dans les camps de réfugiés maliens au Burkina Faso, “on manque de tout”
  9. Reports of war crimes and summary executions follow the violence.
  10. Share
    #Mali Mali: Mali says soldiers, civilians executed during Tuareg clashes #crisismanagement
  11. Meanwhile, the Malian president, Amadou Toumani Toure, answers to complaints from military supporters and “searches for a solution” through regional mediation. 
  12. Share
    Mali /Burkina Faso : Amadou Toumani Touré et Blaise Compaoré cherchent une issue à la crise malienne:” #Mali #Burkina
  13. In more quotidien concerns, the Malian musical group Tinariwen was unable to accept their Grammy award as a result of the violence.
  14. Share
    RT @philinthe_: 4,000 displaced from #Tessalit, #Mali, including band @TINARIWEN who were unable to accept grammy yesterday bcos they are living in desert

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