Former Tuareg rebels in northern Mali and rival pro-government armed groups said they sealed a peace deal to end hostilities after days of talks at Bamako. Bamako is the capital and largest city of Mali, with a population of 1.8 million. In 2006, it was estimated to be the fastest growing city in Africa and 6th fastest in the world. It is located on the Niger River, near the rapids that divide the upper and middle Niger valleys in the southwestern part of the country.
Mali was hit by violence between the two sides in August and September despite a peace deal signed earlier this year. Officials from the Tuareg-led Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) and the Platform, a coalition of pro-government groups stated they reached agreement on a “pact of honour” after nearly 3 weeks of talks in Anefis, 100km (60 miles) southwest of the regional capital Kidal.
“We have held direct negotiations between us. We finished the meeting, everyone has made peace, starting with us, the Platform and the CMA,” said Kidal member of parliament Ahmoudene Ag Iknass, a Platform supporter.
“The war is behind us. The Platform and the CMA have made peace, but other tribes or groups that had problems between themselves also made peace,” Boubacar Ould Hamadi of the CMA said.
The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) welcomed “the series of meetings held in Anefis, from October 4 to 14, 2015, as part of a direct and constructive dialogue” between the two sides and said it was encouraged by “the development which constitutes a qualitative step in the process of inter-Malian peace.”
“This advance adds to the progress that has been made since the completion of the signing of the agreement for peace and national reconciliation in Mali, reaffirming the resolute march towards a lasting and inclusive peace,” it said.
Divided into rival armed factions, plagued by drug trafficking and at the mercy of jihadism, Mali’s desert north has struggled for stability since the west African nation gained independence in 1960. In spring 2012 the north fell under the control of jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda who imposed a brutal interpretation of sharia law on the region, with the country reeling from a military coup.
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was established by UN Security Council resolution 2100 of 25 April 2013. Under the terms of the resolution, the mission would support the political process and carry out a number of security-related stabilization tasks, with a focus on major population centres and lines of communication, protecting civilians, human rights monitoring, the creation of conditions for the provision of humanitarian assistance and the return of displaced persons, the extension of State authority and the preparation of free, inclusive and peaceful elections.