It’s time to update the Mali map again…
A sampling of notable occurrences in the past two months:
-AQIM coordinated an attack on central Timbuktu in late March. Using a suicide bombing on the city’s outskirts as a ruse, fighters slipped into the city and engaged French and Malian forces in a firefight that lasted nearly two days before being repelled.
-A MNLA splinter group calling itself the “Arab Movement of Azawad” wrestled control of the small town of Ber but vowed to work with French and African forces to defeat Islamist forces.
-A sixth French soldier was killed by a roadside IED near Tin Zaouaten in late April.
-MUJAO claimed credit for three separate suicide bombings in Menaka and Gossi last Friday. The strikes injured two Malian soldiers but produced no fatalities (aside from the five bombers).
State of play
A quick word on the present state of play: French and African-led missions seem to have cleared Islamist rebels out of many portions of northeastern Mali, but sporadic attacks continue. The primary perpetrators are MUJAO (around Gao and Kidal) and AQIM (around Timbuktu), with once-powerful Ansar Dine largely gone unnoticed since the French intervention began. MUJAO’s increasingly frequent use of suicide missions to kill Malian and foreign security forces is a worrying development; but as last week’s failed attacks indicate, the group has fortunately not (yet) mastered the technique.
You can find the updated Mali map here: http://goo.gl/maps/iSsoL
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