It has been a little over a week since the Malian army and its Russian proxies under Wagner took control of Kidal, stronghold of the Permanent Strategic Framework (CSP) rebels, in the north of the country. The Malian transitional authorities “ invite » now the Kidalois who had fled the violence have returned and are committed to ensuring their protection. What is now the security and social strategy of the Malian army in Kidal?
Kidal had been administered by rebels for more than ten years. As part of the peace agreement since 2015. Before the arrival of the army on Tuesday November 14, the city had largely emptied of its inhabitants. Not all those who left are affiliated with the CSP; civilians initially fled the bombings. But they accommodated, at the very least, the authority of the rebels – in this case the groups of the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), today an essential component of the CSP – even supported it.
In the same way, all the Kidalois who remained do not fight for the Malian army, but generally support it. And it is on them that the army, the new mistress of the place, now relies.
“ It can rely on the traditional legitimacies that have remained. The CSP does not only have friends in Kidalpoints out Malian researcher Boubacar Ba, director of the Center for Analysis on Governance and Security in the Sahel. There are communities that did not agree with them. I am not going to name these communities, but there are still populations in Kidal who were not very comfortable, so the State will rely on them to reorganize the city, on the basis of negotiation. »
Since the conquest of the town of Kidal, the Malian army multiply the declarations to ask displaced people and refugees, from the city and throughout the region, to return. The Fama undertake to ensure their protection. But the Kidalois who fled fear the exactions of the Malian army and its Wagner auxiliaries. They fear amalgamations and the risk of reprisals with ethnic connotations.
Fear of abuses
This is what displaced civilians from Kidal, currently on the Algerian border, with their families told RFI. Everyone has in mind the numerous abuses of which Malian soldiers and their allies are accused, including during their advance towards Kidal, as in Ersane, at the beginning of October, where 17 civilians were executed and beheaded. Everyone also saw on social networks the images of the looting which followed the arrival of the army in the city and the calls for violence, including rape, made on these same social networks by personalities close to the transitional authorities.
They also fear the resurgence of fighting: the CSP rebels have not laid down their arms and the jihadists of Jnim (Support Group for Islam and Muslims), linked to al-Qaeda, also threaten the city.
“ The CSP rebels withdrew towards the Tinzaouatine area, bordering Algeria, and in the Timetrine region, with the mountainsexplain Boubacar Ba. The CSP movements could find a modus operandi with the Jnim, because they still have gateways, to try to resist and reconquer the city of Kidal. »
The Malian transitional authorities have just achieved an undeniable military success. Kidal’s next battle will be to ensure security and social cohesion.
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