separatist groups form new coalition

separatist groups form new coalition
separatist groups form new coalition

The main separatist groups confronting government forces in northern Mali have announced that they are forming a new coalition and named a pro-independence figure at their head, according to a statement released Thursday.

Representatives of the Permanent Strategic Framework (CSP), an alliance of predominantly Tuareg separatist armed groups, announced at the end of a meeting which took place at the end of April the creation of a “new structure with the aim of achieving to the creation of a single political entity carrying the demands of the people of Azawad”, name of the territory claimed by the separatists in the north of Mali.

Armed separatist groups lost control of several localities in the North at the end of 2023 after an offensive by the Malian army which culminated in the capture of Kidal, a bastion of independence demands and a major sovereignty issue for the central state.

“One of the primary and major objectives of the new structure is to achieve by all means a political and legal status for the territory of Azawad,” specifies the text, whose authors call the “active forces of Azawad (…), to join hands and mobilize to defend their existence on their territory.”

The CSP, or Permanent Strategic Framework for Peace, Security and Development (CSP-PSD) has brought together since its creation in 2021 the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), whose groups are now in open conflict with Bamako , and movements remaining loyal to the regime which had announced their withdrawal from the CSP in September.

According to the press release published Thursday, the new alliance, called Permanent Strategic Framework for the Defense of the People of Azawad (CSP-DPA), is chaired by Bilal Ag Acherif, a figure of the separatists and historical adversary of the central government, who the subject of financial sanctions issued by the Malian authorities in March.

Mali, a poor and landlocked country in the heart of the Sahel, has been plunged into a multifaceted crisis since the outbreak, in 2012, of independence and jihadist insurgencies in the north.

The military seized power in a coup in 2020 and broke their military partnership with France, a former colonial power, to turn to Russia.

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