The relationship between the Tuareg groups and Bamako central government has always been problematic. Indeed, Since Mali’s formal independence from France in 1960, the Tuareg groups have risen up four times, claiming the independence of Tombouctu, Gao, Méneka, Kidal and Taoudénit regions, also known as Azawad.
During the last rebellion in 2012, the independentist Tuareg militias temporarily aligned with jihadist groups, starting a joint offensive in Mali’s north. Due to the rising issues with the terrorist Katibas, most Tuareg groups switched sides by signing a peace agreement with Bamako: The 2015 Algeri accord. However, relations remained peaceful only for a few years.
Indeed, the Algeri accords’ implementation lack, the Malian aggressive counterinsurgency approach and the Tuareg’s links with Transnational Organised Crime (TOC) and Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) are leading to a progressive relations deterioration.
Key Judgement 1: The security situation will highly likely continue to worsen over the next 6 months. In particular, Bamako’s more aggressive standpoint challenges the informal Tuareg rule in Azawad.
Key Judgement 2: The rising tensions between the Tuareg militias and Bamako will highly likely shelve the 2015 Algeri accords over the next 6 months.
Key Judgement 3: Some elements of the Tuareg militias will likely continue the economically advantageous cooperation with JNIM and TOC in the next 6 months.