Faced with the cycle of deadly violence in central Mali and without the prospect of a military solution, the think tank International Crisis Group ( ICG ) recommends in a report released Tuesday to try to establish a dialogue with the jihadists and their supporters.
The ICG advocates, not a stoppage of operations against the group of the Fulani radical preacher Amadou Koufa, appeared in 2015 in this region, but “a change of course”, combining military pressure, dialogue and disarmament to bring its leaders to the table negotiations.
Earlier contacts, initiated by civil society, humanitarian organizations or Muslim clerics “have revealed a certain degree of pragmatism” within the Kufa group, according to the report.
The ICG therefore suggests to the Malian authorities to “mandate religious leaders” to try to communicate with the leaders of the group, while seeking “a broader dialogue with the Malian center, including those favorable to the rebellion” .
The very idea of talking with the jihadists is likely to come up against many obstacles, such as the rejection of some Malian elites and foreign powers present militarily, like France, in the name of the secular nature of the state or not to legitimize a group “with blood on the hands,” he admits.
In order to reduce the opposition to this proposed initiative, the success of which is in no way guaranteed, the authors of the report propose that, as a condition of any agreement with this group, it should renounce its connections with transnational jihadist organizations, such as Al- Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
“At least 488 dead” since January 2018
The national agreement of agreement organized in 2017 in Mali had notably called for the opening of negotiations with the Touareg radical leader Malian Iyad Ag Ghaly and Amadou Koufa. But this resolution had been rejected by the Malian and French governments.
Amadou Koufa joined from its inception in March 2017 the Support Group for Islam and Muslims, the main jihadist alliance of the Sahel linked to Al Qaeda, led by Iyad Ag Ghaly.
Since the emergence of the group Kufa, recruiting primarily among the Fulani, traditionally breeders, clashes are increasing in central Mali between this community and the Bambara and Dogon ethnic groups, mainly engaged in agriculture, who have created their “groups”. self defense “.
This violence culminated on March 23 with the massacre at Ogossagou, near the border with Burkina Faso, of some 160 Peul villagers by suspected members of Dogon hunter groups.
The Mission of the UN in Mali (Minusma) announced on May 16 had identified “at least 488 dead” since January 2018 in attacks by “traditional hunters against civilian members of the Peul population” in the regions of Mopti and Segou (center).
At the same time, Peul armed groups “caused 63 deaths” among civilians in the Mopti region, according to the Minusma.