On Wednesday, it was reported that Malian authorities discovered a mass grave containing 21 bodies close to a military camp; they are thought to be the bodies of soldiers killed while a junta chief was in power after a military coup in March 2012. General Amadou Sanogo, who led the coup, has since been arrested and charged with complicity in kidnapping. Shortly after he seized power, a failed counter-coup pitted two army factions against each other, and ever since they have continually engaged in guerrilla warfare against one another. However, those in the grave have yet to be identified as belonging to either group.
This comes at an inconvenient time for the country as tensions between Islamist forces and French troops are escalating. This is due to the impending parliamentary polls, which are meant to mark the nation’s first steps to recovery after it descended into chaos from the military coup. On December 10th, jihadist forces killed 19 French soldiers as well as both African forces and Malian civilians.
Clearly the French presence has not proven to be fully effective in mitigating sectarian violence. Quite possibly it is doing the exact opposite by exacerbating the frustrations of Islamist forces who hold significant animosity towards Western encroachment in Malian affairs.
Just as there were several months of calm before September of this year, when a fresh batch of jihadist attacks were launched, hopefully a semblance of peace will return to Mali so that a democratic government can be restored