Violence strikes, Northern Mali suffers another armed attack

A UN peacekeeper  from the MINUSMA mission in the region of  Timbuktu, northern Mali A UN peacekeeper from the MINUSMA mission in the region of Timbuktu, northern Mali Sebastien RIEUSSEC/AFP

8 April 2017
An armed attack in the rural community of Gargando, in Mali, kills 5 people including a civilian village chief.

The attack, carried out during nighttime on April 7th was targeted the small community of Gargando in the Timbuktu region of Mali which hosts the main base of the CJA  (‘’Congress for justice in Azawad’’), a Tuareg-led militant group. According to locals, the attack presumably was carried out by jihadists, even though no evidence was found to allow identification of the attacking armed men.

Several armed men attacked with heavily loaded vehicles, starting a violent combat that lasted for about 2 hours with the local CJA troops.

Four  fighters from the CJA were killed in the attack, as well as  a local civilian chief,  making a total of five fatalities. The attackers also destroyed equipment of the CJA, including vehicles, before putting the camp on fire.

The CJA is a Tuareg political armed group of the Timbuktu region, that had recently moved troops towards the city of Timbuktu to show protest against the interim authorities.

Northern Mali, which hosts the so-called “Azawad” territory, comprising the Timbuktu, Kidal and Gao regions, has been for years now a zone of dangerous conflicts. On one hand, the conflict is due to independence-seeking armed groups predominantly from Tuareg communities, and on the other,  due to the rise of Al-Qaeda affiliated jihadists.

Since 2013, the UN peacekeeping mission “MINUSMA” (“United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali”) has been operating in Mali with more than 15,000 peacekeepers. The UN troops have also repeatedly been victims of attacks during the 4 years ongoing mission, reporting more casualties than any other peacekeeping mission.


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