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After eight years of absence, the malian army started to retake Kidal

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Durant une opération à Ndaki (Mali), le 29 juillet 2019. During an operation to Ndaki (Mali), on 29 July 2019. Benoit Tessier / REUTERS

Along the road, a big hundred of the military known to lie in wait, backed by a long column of pick-up. Monday, 10 February, their departure for Kidal, 350 kilometers north of Gao, is imminent. “The supreme chief of the armed forces and the malian people support you and count on you “, their spear the general division of the army of the malian Abdoulaye Coulibaly, as the green light. The moment is symbolic for the malian armed forces (FAMa), which had been waiting for three weeks this departure. Retake the north of Mali where the State is absent since 2012, is a mission highly symbolic.

Accompanied by land and air by the blue helmets of the united Nations Mission in Mali, Minusma, so they took the road to 14: 30, Monday 10 February. “More than 300 items are on trucks and light vehicles and should arrive in Kidal on Friday “, tweeted the spokesperson of the government, Yaya Sangare. “The Mali as a whole is holding its breath this evening,” added the minister of foreign affairs, Tiébilé Dramé, on the same network.

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The eight years that this redeployment was to wait. In 2012, the FAMa had been evicted from the city by the terrorist group Ansar Dine, which is affiliated to Al-Qaeda in the islamic Maghreb. And if the shadow of a return to Kidal was a time hovered in 2014, the Movement for the liberation of Azawad – armed group signatory of the peace agreement in 2015 from the tuareg rebellion, now a part of the Coordination of movements of Azawad (CMA), had firmly established its authority after you have freed the sides of the French forces of “operation Serval” in march 2013.

“Security threat “

This abandonment had become a subject of tension on the diplomatic front. In September 2019, the president of the Republic of niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, said that ” the status of Kidal is a threat to the internal security of the Niger “.

On 10 November, during a meeting with the heads of State of the sahel, Emmanuel Macron had wanted to reassure her, repeating ” very clearly that Kidal is in Mali and the malian State. Has Kidal, this is the flag of mali, the administration mali “, ” he pointed out. In January, at Pau, he had again insisted on the importance of the restoration of the malian State in the North, especially in Kidal.

Because the return of the malian army in the city is part of the peace agreement in 2015, which stipulates that ” the armed and security forces reconstituted themselves redéploieront, in a phased manner from the date of signing of the agreement, in the regions of the north “. A force so-called ” reconstituted “, consisting of soldiers of the regular army, as well as members demobilized from the CMA and the Platform, an armed group, also a signatory, loyal to the central power.