Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – Daesh extremists have almost doubled the territory they control in Mali in less than a year, and their Al-Qaeda-linked rivals are capitalizing on the deadlock and perceived weakness of armed groups that signed a 2015 peace agreement, United Nations experts said in a new report.
The stalled implementation of the peace deal and sustained attacks on communities have offered the Daesh group and Al-Qaeda affiliates a chance “to re-enact the 2012 scenario,” they said.
That’s when a military coup took place in March and rebels in the north formed an Islamic state two months later. The extremist rebels were forced from power in the north with the help of a French-led military operation, but they moved from the arid north to more populated central Mali in 2015 and remain active.
The experts cited some sources as saying the government believes that over time the confrontation in the north will benefit Malian authorities, but other sources believe time favors the terrorists “whose military capacities and community penetration grow each day.”
In June, Mali’s junta ordered the UN peacekeeping force and its 15,000 international troops to leave after a decade of working on stemming the jihadi insurgency The Security Council terminated the mission’s mandate on June 30.
The panel said the armed groups that signed the 2015 agreement expressed concern that the peace deal could potentially fall apart without UN mediation, “thereby exposing the northern regions to the risk of another uprising.”