Mapping Armed Groups in Mali and the Sahel

Violence is tearing Mali and the Sahel apart. But who are the armed groups behind the bloodshed? Where are international actors stationed in the region? And what motivates them all? This project maps jihadist and non-jihadist groups and pinpoints the presence of external actors in the region as of May 2019.

Since 2012, Mali has faced a succession of violent conflicts. The Tuareg rebellion and subsequent jihadist occupation of northern Mali in that year revealed several cleavages in society and governance that, while not new, have grown worse with time. The departure of the government from more than half of the country’s landmass and the pressure placed on local areas by resource competition, weapons proliferation, and clashing ideologies have all exacerbated Mali’s internal conflicts, patterns that have also played out elsewhere.

The French intervention under the guise of Operation Serval in January 2013 dislodged the jihadist groups from Mali’s cities, but did not eliminate them. They slipped away and reorganised, coming back to attack the United Nations peacekeeping mission established in Mali, MINUSMA, as well as Malian and French forces and civilian targets in the capital Bamako and even beyond Mali’s borders. The signing of peace accords in Algiers in June 2015 did not appreciably improve the situation. MINUSMA is the largest UN peacekeeping mission in the world but efforts to restore state authority have faltered, jihadist groups have grown and spread into Burkina Faso and parts of Niger, and local conflicts have also erupted in new and deadly ways.

Please follow the link provided to learn more about the Mapping armed groups in Mali and the Sahel project.


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