The death of three soldiers of the Barkhane force on April 12 in an explosion at the passage of their vehicle in northern Mali reminds us that the conflict is far from being over in the Sahel. The attack has been claimed by the jihadists of Ansar ed-Dine.
Then, on Monday 18 April, an anti-French demonstration was held at the Kidal Airport. Two people were shot dead in clashes with the men of the United Nations Mission in Mali (Minusma).
The Minusma has doubts regarding the “spontaneity” of the gathering as there were many women and children. According to a mission report, some protesters were “armed with Molotov cocktails” and “set fire to the airport installations”.
The Kidal airport is, for the Tuaregs, the symbol of the arrival of the foreign forces in northern Mali.
AQIM still poses a threat to the stability of the region. The group had been clever enough to make common cause with the Tuaregs, traditionally rather moderate Muslims.
The Tuaregs’ demands were previously confined to the Northern area of Mali and were related to the independence of Azawad but not on the application of sharia.
The talent of AQIM (attached to the seduction of money) has swayed Tuareg groups who now share their radical vision of Islam.