Ceaseless Violence in Mali

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

About Dahlia James

Dahlia James is a Research Analyst at the NATO Association of Canada, where she writes articles on current events, as well as women in security, Canada’s involvement in NATO, and NATO’s multilateral connections. She has completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Toronto, where she studied Political Science, History, and American Studies. For the entirety of the 2011-2012 academic year, she studied abroad at the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where her studies were focused on Israeli foreign policy and Middle Eastern studies. Her recent experience includes acting as the Co-Editor in Chief of the Undergraduate Journal of American Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and interning in the research and editorial department at the Jerusalem Centre of Public Affairs. Her interests lie in American foreign policy, Canadian-American bilateral affairs, and both Israeli and Middle Eastern politics.