Tensions rise between military and former Tuareg rebels in Mali

According to local media reports, the Azavad Movements Coordination (CMA) in northern Mali, which disarmed with the Algiers Agreement in 2015, announced that the Malian army had carried out airstrikes on the CMA positions in Anefis in the northeast of the country for two days.

CMA stated that there was no loss of life or property damage in these attacks.

In the statement made by the Malian army, it was informed that airstrikes were carried out against terrorist groups in Anefis and the terrorists were neutralized.

CMA, whose relations with Bamako have deteriorated for a while, announced on 10 August that its representatives had withdrawn from the capital Bamako due to a “security risk”.

MINUSMA’s withdrawal process raises tensions

Tensions between the CMA and the military began when the United Nations Financial Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) relinquished control of the bases to the military.

MINUSMA, which will withdraw all its elements from the country until the end of the year at the request of the Mali government, handed over the military camp in Ber, located about 50 kilometers from the city of Timbuktu in the north, to the Malian army on 15 August.

The first handover between the army and MINUSMA was made in Ogossagou on 3 August, and MINUSMA had transferred the camp it used there to the Malian army, as required by law.

The town of Ber is located in the region under the control of the CMA, according to the map determined by the 2015 Algeria Agreement.

Therefore, the CMA strongly opposed MINUSMA’s surrender of the camp in Ber to the Malian army, arguing that this violated the Algiers Agreement.

CMA, which has made statements on this subject before, stated that the entry of the Malian army into Ber would be a declaration of war for them.

With a population of around 20,000, Ber is strategically located for the transition to Kidal, the main stronghold of the former Tuareg rebels.

According to the CMA, the Malian army’s entry into Ber could also facilitate its advance into Kidal, which it had not entered for nearly 10 years.

Phase 2 of MINUSMA’s withdrawal process will be even more challenging

Having evacuated 9 out of 12 camps since August, MINUSMA has completed the first phase of the withdrawal process.

El-Ghassim Wane, the Special Envoy of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General to Mali, said that the actual second stage of the withdrawal process will be much more difficult.

The second phase of MINUSMA’s withdrawal process involves the CMA-controlled Kidal and surrounding camps.

It is feared that if the camps in the CMA-controlled area fall into the hands of the army, the tension between the CMA and the army will escalate.

The “Algeria Peace and Reconciliation Agreement” was signed with the CMA in 2015, under the mediation of Algeria, to end the violence in the northern Mali’s cities, such as Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal, and which the Tuareg call “Azavad”.

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