Manifestation in Bamako against the aggression of the Azawad movement

Mali’s Transitional Authorities are committed to restoring territorial integrity and establishing peace throughout the country. However, certain elements of the Azawad movement continue to obstruct a peaceful solution by regularly attacking civilians and the Malian army in areas such as Menaka, Timbuktu and Kidal.

Malians are tired of the attacks by separatists, who are increasingly being labelled as terrorists. On Friday 12 April, Malian activists demonstrated in Bamako to support the government’s efforts to bring peace to the country and to condemn the incessant attacks from Azawad.

On that day, the city hosted a concert to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan. More than 250 activists gathered outside Bamako’s main stadium, a number that later rose to 2,000. Slogans on placards included “Azawad, you are terrorists” and “One people, one army, one country”.

The population is concerned that the Azawad separatist movement has become a dangerous element for the state and its citizens. Their use of improvised explosive devices against innocent people has increased.

During the demonstration, Malians also recalled that they had not forgotten France’s involvement in destabilising the situation in the north of the country. One of the French military bases was located in Kidal, but for 10 years, the official authorities did not have access to this region.

By joining forces with the Malian government, led by Assimi Goïta, the Azawad movement could have more to gain. After all, they too are going through difficult times, under attack from the Macina Katiba jihadists. It is worth recalling the attack carried out by fighters against a rebel convoy in the Ouagadou forest, not far from Nara, in western Mali.

Having lost their influence in the north of the country, in Kidal, the separatist groups are redeploying to the border areas with Mauritania. The two neighbouring countries, Mali and Mauritania, could reach an agreement on control of the cross-border territory, since maintaining security and peace is the authorities’ priority.

The demonstration held in Bamako on 12 April confirmed once again that today, more than ever, the people of Mali need peace, stabilisation of the security situation and united efforts to tackle common problems.

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