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Kidal will be test of the state's return to north Mali

Wednesday, March 4, 2020


Kidal's significance.


In mid-February, the government deployed 600 soldiers and auxiliary forces to the far north-eastern city of Kidal and 200 more to Timbuktu, another key northern city. There are also plans to deploy troops to Menaka and Taoudenit. All these towns have been under the de facto control of shifting constellations of rebels, former rebels and militias since April 2012. The return of the military as part of a ‘reconstituted army’ consisting of one-third government soldiers, one-third former rebel fighters and one-third government-aligned militia members indicates a softening of tensions.


  • The Kidal deployment may blunt some Western criticism of the Malian government’s performance.
  • Legislative elections in March and talks with jihadists could yet change political balances in Kidal.
  • Relations between the government and former rebels in the north are better now than in years.
  • The Algiers Accord’s different provisions are so interconnected that the success of any one depends on agreement on multiple other elements.
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