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Mali

Yearbook 2016

Mali. In January, Sweden's Foreign Minister, Defense Minister and ÖB Mali and the Swedish UN troop visited about 250 soldiers in Timbuktu. The peace process was discussed with the Mali government and the issue of a kidnapped Swede was raised.

2016 Mali

Following the Swedish ministerial visit, a video hostage was posted on YouTube, where a masked man pronounced threats against Sweden. The kidnappers were considered to belong to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim).

Militant Islamists and separatist groups ravaged northern Mali and the peace agreement from the previous year was powerless. The UN force MINUSMA is repeatedly attacked, including by suicide bombers, with several deaths as a result. In March, the EU forces headquarters were also attacked in the capital Bamako.

In May, new terrorist acts were carried out with several UN soldiers as victims. According to UN data, a total of 65 UN soldiers had lost their lives during MINUSMA's operation in Mali since 2013. Thus, it was the most dangerous of UN peace operations.

At Mali's call, the UN Security Council decided to increase the UN force in the country from 12,000 to 15,200 soldiers and police.

According to countryaah, Sweden decided to increase aid to Mali to SEK 240 million per year for five years. Among other things, experts on peace and conflict resolution will be sent to the country.

The state of emergency that was in force due to the violence in the country was extended twice during the year. This gives the security service increased powers and limits the freedom of assembly. According to the government, thousands of people had been arrested with the help of the exception laws.

At least 17 government soldiers were killed in July in an armed attack against a military base, and 35 people were injured. New fighting broke out between Tuaregrebel and the loyalist militia in the north with many casualties.

In September, the Minister of Defense was replaced after the attack on the military base and after military allies lost a battle against militant jihadists in the central part of the country.

Jihadist Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi (also known as Abu Tourab) was sentenced in September by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to nine years in prison for war crimes by destroying cultural heritage. It was the first verdict of its kind and the ICC hoped it would help protect the world's ancient monuments.

The defendant acknowledged and asked the Mali people for forgiveness. He had ordered attacks in 2012 in the World Heritage City of Timbuktu, where the famous Sidi Yahia mosque from the 15th century was destroyed, as were small mausoleums in clay.

After intensive work on restoring the mosque, it was reopened in the presence of politicians, religious leaders, diplomats and UNESCO representatives who oversee world heritage.

In October, the opposition held demonstrations with thousands of participants in Bamako to protest against a new electoral law. Among other things, the fee had been sharply raised for those who want to run for election. The government was also accused of silencing the opposition in the media.

Swedish UN soldiers in Timbuktu suffered a suicide attack in October when a man blew himself up when the Swedes were on a search mission. None of the UN soldiers were injured.

The Islamist group Ansar al-Din's religious leader declared in October that the group announced a unilateral ceasefire. The group has ties to al-Qaeda and has fought the Malian government.

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